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August 2015
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2015
P.S I seem to have somehow mucked up the formatting of this page, and I don't know how to get rid of all the big white spaces in the early entries. They don't seem to map to any formatting instructions that I can see. Humph !

Monday 31st August 2015
16:47 BST
  Most of yesterday was not exactly terrible, but it wasn't much good. It was dull, merely tepid, and dry - dry until about 8pm ! I guess the temperature probably hit 19 or 20° C, and while there was a risk of rain in the evening, it was perfectly comfortable for short shirt sleeves and no coat. At 8pm it started to rain, and I was caught with no protection as I made my way to a bus stop, but it didn't feel too bad. The rain stopped half an hour later, but started again sometime after dark, and I think it has been raining, with occasional breaks, ever since. The temperature today is a cool feeling 15 or 16° C - cool if you are inactive, but it is still possible to feel quite warm when being active. With the bank holiday over, tomorrow will be a degree or two warmer, less dull, and a lot drier. There is even the chance of a few sunny periods in the afternoon, and of course the a shower is forecast just for the time I am going home from work !

 I only did two things of note yesterday. At least two is all that comes to mind right now. The first was to take yet another walk to Aldi - my third in a week - to buy some stuff. I bought some soft drinks, some salad type stuff, and some meat to cook in my new mini oven, although it was a couple of cheese and leek, smoked haddock fishcakes that ended up in there yesterday. I also bough several assorted packs of pre-wetted/soaped/whatevered cleaning tissue type things - and I've already got through one whole pack already !

 The fish cakes were very nice. It's been some time since I've been able to cook anything like fishcakes properly. Cooking them in the microwave works, and they are tasty, but the texture is obviously not quite right. I had them early in the afternoon, and they filled me just perfectly for going out at a little after 5pm. I was heading to The Coach And Horses, a pub in Beckenham where a music event was taking place.

 There were four bands on the bill. The first was actually not a band, but a Mark Dobson as solo artist "Dobbo" playing (electro)acoustic guitar and singing his own songs - not quite my "thing", but he is pretty good. Next on the bill were The Spangles - an all female "super group"....well mostly all female. The only drummer available was a man who dressed in drag for the occasion - and pulled it off quite well ! He was right at the back of a very small and crowded stage area, and I never did manage to get a close up of him/her !
outside the coach
                          and horses
This was outside the pub before Dobbo took to the stage.
Nina Proud, Phaedra (Jo's daughter) and Jo Corteen look up to a 6ft tall Rob Todd.
The Spangles on stage
From left to right - Michelle Whitestar on bass, "Delores" on drums, Patsi Spike Oshea on vocals and keyboards, Auntie Doreen on saxaphone, Jo Corteen on lead guitar, and Geoff Paice on the mixer !
The Coach And Horses
It was as busy outside the pub as it was inside !

 The coach and Horses is quite a small pub, and I can imagine that the landlord was very pleased with his takings yesterday. Inside it was very crowded, and it was pretty crowded outside. It was lucky that it stayed dry as long as it did. Soon after The Spangles finished their set I decided to go home. I had really only gone there to see them, although I would have like to see the last band - Ferdinands Northern Ferrets. I've seen them before, and they are really enjoyable. Unfortunately the third band (of four) was Whitestar, and I don't care for them. They are very good musicians, but they only play their own original material - which is both good and bad. For me it is bad because there is nothing outstanding that grabs my attention, and without "hook" I find it really boring to watch them.

 I think it was around 8pm when I left the pub, and of course that was the time the rain decided to fall. No, actually I lie for dramatic purposes. In truth it had started to rain 5 or 10 minutes before I left, but it was another factor in deciding when to leave. I didn't have a coat with me, and it seemed wise to leave while it was only light rain that was not freezing cold. The bus stop is only a few minutes walk away from the pub, and a bus arrived at the bus stop virtually at the same time as I did.

 Sometime between getting on the bus, and getting off again in Catford, I decided I needed to have a Chinese takeaway. I'm not entirely sure why this was. I presume I must have seen or smelled something, and it lodged in my brain the same way that a bullet does, although slightly less destructively. It had stopped raining when I got off the bus, but I still rushed home as fast as I comfortably could - which after three pints of beer seemed quite fast. As soon as I got in I rushed up to my PC to order a Chinese takeaway.

 As usual, I had to pad the order out to raise the price high enough for free delivery, although, as usual, I over did it ! The strange thing is that when it arrived, and it arrived very quickly,  I found I was not nearly as hungry as I thought I was. So there was plenty left over for dinner today plus a snack. With some hot food inside me I felt tired, but not exactly sleep. So I didn't bother reviewing  and maybe editing my photographs of the evening as I sometimes do, and instead I went to bed with a book.

 It all seems very hazy now, but I don't think I read that much before I decided to put the book down, and go to sleep. It is possible that I was asleep before 10pm - which would have been good if it happened. As far as I can remember I slept soundly for as much as 5 hours, but it may have been as little as 4 hours. After that I woke up at least once an hour, and sometime after as little as 30 minutes. I think it was about 6am before I gave up trying to sleep, and got up feeling still tired.

 I haven't been feeling very good today. I think it is almost purely because of the weather. It is grey, wet, sometimes very wet, and it is also rather cool unless I keep moving around. Most of it is all in the mind, but my chest was playing up earlier. It was aching a bit when I got up, and this afternoon I had to take a couple of Ibuprofen to calm it down. It is just the usual "floating rib" problem. A little earlier this afternoon I tried to have a snooze, but it is hard to relax when your chest goes pop-pop-pop every time you breath in - but strangely not when breathing out. Sometimes I can partly cure that by holding my chest in with both hands as I try and breath in as hard as I can. This time it just seemed to make my chest more sore, and it was that, that prompted me to take the Ibuprofen. Fortunately it's anti-inflammatory properties seemed to have worked well again, and I am now comfortable - at least while I am sitting down typing.

 The terrible, soul crushing grey light that is outside has not really spurred me on to do much at all today, but apart from so photo editing, I have done some more of my great tidy up plan. The first thing I did was to clean up a little plastic mini chest of drawers type thing. It is not exactly elegant, but the drawers are handy for stuff full of all sorts of stuff and junk. I intend to park it by the TV when I have cleared up around it. I may not have done that yet, but I have cleared up a lot above the TV. I have filled a whole dustbin liner with old VHS video cassettes, plus some old audio cassettes, plus some other junk and detritus. I haven't actually got any room in the wheelie bin for that sack of crap, and so I have had to stop doing any more clearing/cleaning, but the shelves above/behind the TV are now fairly neat, with the few remaining VHS cassettes, and all the DVDs I have bought, acquired, or made, all lined up fairly neatly.

 The pace of my cleaning up seems to be accelerating. It is probably because I have become more ruthless in throwing stuff away, but at the same time, it is the need to dispose of it that limits how much I can do in any one week. Although we have to remember that it can be hard work sometimes, and sometimes I don't feel like doing hard work ! What is quite amazing to me is that I am beginning to foresee that in the not so distant future it might be possible that I will redecorate the living room (i.e. fresh paint on the woodchip wallpaper), and maybe even buy new carpet for it. Somehow doing the same to the back room is seeming less and less like science fiction lately.

 Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my best ever holiday. It was the day when I went into hospital, and came out again 12 days later after my quad heart bypass operation. I might have more to say about it tomorrow if my manager is sufficiently occupied to not notice me not doing the companies business !
Sunday 30th August 2015
08:51 BST
  If were not for the fact that it is still August, and therefore still ought to be high summer, I could describe yesterday's weather as very poor, but by recent standards it was not that bad really. There was some sunshine now and then, and the temperature was high enough to feel comfortable, and even a bit warm when doing any physical activity. At one point one of my thermometers seemed to be reading 24° C, but I think that was a fluke, and the more general temperature from late morning to late afternoon, was probably more in the region of 21° C.  This morning it is very grey, and it has been raining, although the roads and pavement are drying out now. My thermometer says it is 18.5° C, and that is 2.5° C degrees higher than forecast. The rest of the forecast agrees that it is very dull now, and it predicts it will be very dull all day. There is a weather warning out for heavy rain from 4pm, but the weather chart doesn't actually show any rain until later this evening. To one degree or another, it is not looking like it is going to be a very nice day ! Tomorrow is August bank holiday, and by tradition it is supposed to rain, and that is what the forecast predicts. It also predicts an almost cold day, just 16° C for much of the day. Now that is breaking tradition a little too much !
book shelves
 I include this picture for the sake of completeness, but it will not mean much to anyone. It would mean more if I had taken a "before" picture. This picture is the result of half an hour, a hour (?)(was anyone actually timing it ?) of semi hard, but definitely dusty work. Before the left hand bookshelf in my living room looked like this it was a total mess. All sort of old paperwork, including maybe 10 years worth of old xmas cards, and birthday cards, were crammed into any convenient space on the lower shelves. On the top shelf the books were laying at all sorts of random angles, and dusty cobwebs festooned the tops of the books.

 It's not perfectly dust free now, but the worst has gone, and now all but a couple of books are lined up like soldiers. I had to make a little extra room by throwing away a couple of books. One of those books has been judged the worst science fiction book in the whole universe. Apparently few actually finish reading it, and most secondhand book shops have such huge stocks of it that they turn away new copies (or so rumour has it). That book is L. Ron Hubbards "Battlefield Earth". That was the same L. Ron Hubbard who invented Scientology as a means to make extra money - or so they say. It is possible that my memory of this book, and about the book, may be completely wrong judging by a couple of reviews I quickly skimmed through, but oh well, what a shame, who gives a damn ?

 I have no idea what time I went to bed last night. All I know is that except for Dad's Army. there was bugger all on TV last, I lie, there were a few episodes of QI on later in the evening, but they failed to grab my attention, and I resorted to reading. I do have a vague recollection of falling asleep quite easily last night, and until about 4am I seemed to sleep well. At 4am I woke up feeling strange in a way that I can't even begin to describe. It was almost as if I had woken from a completely forgotten nightmare. It seemed impossible to relax after that, and I have had very little sleep since.

 Since washing my hair, and having a shower, I feel sort of good mixed with a sort of restlessness that doesn't seem to have much accompanying energy. I've already done one brief job this morning, and maybe I'll do more, or maybe I won't. I think I want to go and get some shopping if there are any shops open this morning. One of the things I want is another packet (or maybe several packets) of Dettol Wipes - or something similar. They were very handy for dusting my bookshelves last night, and sooner or later I will be doing something similar to another dusty book shelf. I think those wipes came from Poundland, or the 99p shop, and there is a good chance that they will be open today. (Most shops would be open on a Sunday in Catford, but possibly not on the Sunday before a bank holiday Monday).

 The one thing I definitely want to do today is to go to The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham. Starting sometime between 5 and 6pm there is a mini music festival there. I think 4 bands will be doing some short sets, and one of those bands is "Spangles". It is an all female band put together for the occasion, and features Jo Corteen playing lead guitar, Patsi "Spike" O'Shea on vocals, Michelle Whitestar on bass, and (presumably) someone on drums - if there are drums. What could be described as the stage area is very small, and during the regular Thursday night open mic session they use a Cahon (or Cajon) instead of drums. A Cahon is an expensively constructed (possibly) wooden box that is sat on, and the sitter taps or beats the front of the box between his, or her legs.
Saturday 29th August 2015
15:43 BST
Excuse the selfie, I was testing a mobile phone camera !

  Yesterday was supposed to be a bright sunny day...but it wasn't. Well, not all the time. There were some nice sunny periods, and it was better than mild, but not exactly warm. I seem to recall the temperature topped out at around 20° C. I'm not really sure what I expected of today, but I think it has been better than that. It has stayed dry (so far), and there have been a few nice sunny periods, but even less that yesterday. If anything the temperature has climbed up a degree or two warmer than yesterday. According to the BBC's website, things are about to change. Rain is due in a few hours, and it could get quite heavy. The rain might peter out in the early hours of tomorrow, and it should stay dry, but very dull and murky through the day until it starts to rain again in the early evening.


Before I write any more I must show this picture that I keep forgetting to show.
ticket punched with
                          cat shaped punch
It was for one leg of my day out to Eastbourne last week. The significant thing is the cat shaped ticket punch that the on-board ticket inspector used. I've never seen a cat silhouette punch before.

 It was my intention to go out, probably to the seaside yesterday, but in the end that didn't happen. There were two reasons for it. The first was that time seemed to be sliding past with no control, and it would have been almost midday before I was ready to go out. The second reason was probably caused by the first. As the hours slipped away we seemed to lose all the sunshine that was supposed to be tempting me out. The sun didn't disappear completely, and it did reappear several times in the afternoon, and even into late evening, but I had lost my confidence that it would stay dry.

 So I made alternate plans. On a whim, I phoned my friend Kevin to see if he fancied a lunchtime pint. He wasn't in, but his wife answered the phone and said that he had a hospital appointment in the morning. She said she would get him to ring me a soon as he was able. 30 - 40 minutes later he rang, and said yes he would like, and indeed was going for a lunchtime pint (and dinner) with his wife in the Wetherspoons pub.

Half an hour later I was in the pub drinking the first of three pints of beer. Kevin did suggest that I stay for more, but I thought that three was quite sufficient for a lunchtime. In some respects it was actually too much. It wasn't quite the normal problem of the booze making me sleepy, but more to do with some of the stuff I bought from the 99p shop when I popped in there on my way home again.

 I bought a couple of things that were too tempting, and had too high levels of sugar in them. On the plus side I did buy some very nice smelling "Original Source" orange and chocolate shower gel, and some plain orange shower gel. I tried the orange and chocolate when I had a shower this morning, and if it hadn't been soapy I would almost have licked it off instead of rinsing it off ! I am anticipating the plain orange will be rather nice too !

 Of course the booze did make me a bit sleepy. I don't think I had a snooze, but I was certainly feeling too relaxed to do anything constructive. I couldn't even bother to test out my new mini oven. In the laziest fashion possible, I ordered fish and chips to be delivered. It was both good and bad that the fish and chips were so expensive that I didn't have to pad the order out with much to qualify for free delivery. On the plus side, the fish was quite big, and very tasty, and although they could probably have done with a bit more frying to make them extra crispy, the chips were proper chip shop chips, and not silly little tasteless, so called, French Fries !

 All the sleepiness I felt late afternoon seemed to have completely evaporated by late evening, and instead of crashing onto my bed at, say, 9pm, it was closer to midnight when I put my book down, and went to sleep. As usual, I woke up earlier than I wanted to, but not so early that I could go back to bed again. I guess I got another 6 hours sleep last night, and while I don't have to force myself to try and stay awake (and usually fail) at work, and can have a snooze almost whenever I fancy it, 6 hours seems quite enough. I guess it is all in the mind !

 This morning I saw my friend Aleemah. There are no trains to and from London at Catford Bridge station today (and tomorrow, and also Monday), so Aleemah had to get the bus. She had allowed extra time for this, but her journey went so smoothly that she was actually earlier than usual. On occasions like this I meet Aleemah in the pub rather than the station, and because I can't predict the time she will arrive with any great accuracy, I was in the pub a quarter of an hour before her. At 09:20am I was sitting down with two half pints of beer for breakfast. I must admit I drank one of the rather fast so I could order another one when I ordered Aleemah's coffee and vegetarian breakfast. I must also admit that it was a full pint I ordered for myself, and not another half !

 Today we watched The Omen IV, and thank goodness that is the last of that series we will be watching. I'm not a great fan of horror movies, but although The Omen movies are supposed to be horror movies, they are more like a tedious soap opera. Like a soap opera, it is possible to miss out whole chunks of those Omen movies, and not actually miss anything at all. It's like the story, such as it is, is self healing, and after a while you don't realise anything was missing at all. Thay are four movies I would recommend to insomniacs - only mildly scary in places, but still very soporific !

 I had some crazy ideas that I might do something after Aleemah went home, and while I haven't enacted any of the crazy ideas (like hoovering the stairs) I have done a couple of things. The more significant was to try out my new mini oven to cook some Bratwurst sausages. While I had tried the oven out very briefly - literally 30 seconds - today was the forst time I had let it get up to working temperature, and as the manual said it would, it gave off quite a lot of smoke as the heaters bedded themselves in. It also cooked those sausages quite well. While eating the sausages I turned the TV on, and watched one of the sorts of movies I do like - a 1950's black and white British movie about a test pilot having a few difficulties with a new plane. I enjoyed that even if the scenes with his wife were a bit sacharine !

 I now have a bit more afternoon, and the evening left to do something or another. At this very moment I am trying to decide if I am going to do some more housework, or do nothing at all. It is a tricky decision because there is one thing I would like to do, and that is to tidy up the the top of the left hand book shelf in the living room. It is covered in dust, which will be a bit unpleasant, and heaven knows what little multi legged beasties are lurking up there, and that could be more unpleasant still !! However, it is a major eyesore in my living room, and I ought to do it someday. Maybe it will happen this evening....but the more I think about, the less likely it seems. Oh well, there's no rush !
Friday 28th August 2015
09:12 BST
  Yesterday was a good improvement over recent days. There was some rain, and on one occasion it was at an inconvenient time, but there were also some nice sunny spells. I think the temperature hit 21° C at one point, which isn't particularly warm, but most of the day felt quite comfortable. The latest forecast for today has slightly reduced the amount of sunshine, but it is still looking good, and the temperature should be similar to yesterday. The trade off for the slightly reduced sunshine is for tomorrow to be a little better. It should be mostly dry with the temperature getting up to 20° C again, but while it is looking brighter, it seems there won't be much in the way of sunshine.

 I must have been busy in some unrealised way yesterday because there didn't seem to be much spare time - except late in the evening. I described my morning yesterday. In the afternoon I didn't manage to raise any enthusiasm to do any more hoovering, but I might have done if the afternoon hadn't seemed to flash by. I have no idea where the rest of the hours went to, but I can account for nearly an hour (maybe only 40 minutes). As I previously suggested I might do, I paid a second visit to Aldi. I am now the proud owner of one of these....
mini oven/grill
  It is a Crofton "professional" mini oven or grill. Quite how a little £19.99 toy like this is considered professional is a mystery. What sort of profession cooks things not much bigger than a pork pie ? I've turned it on to check that it works, but as yet I have had no time to wash the grill tray (and line it with foil), let alone cook anything in it. What I do know is that the instruction leaflet suggests some rather long cooking times, but I have to try and remember these are long times compared to a microwave oven. It is strange how timings that seemed second nature when I had a gas oven, only three years ago now, seemed to have faded from the mind (until revived by practice again - I hope).

 Having set up, and given the oven the briefest of tests, there seemed to be almost no time left to get myself ready to go out boozing. Last nights drinking was in The Bricklayers Arms, which is just the other side of Bromley (from my perspective). It's about a 35 minute bus ride. Maybe I am the most impatient person in the world, but I found that bus ride to take 34 minutes too long. I often wish I had a personal jet pack to get to places quicker. A 5 minute flight to work would almost make it worthwhile trying to stay working there for many years to come.

 The pub is a Shepherd Neame pub, and I am not a fan of their beers, but they had a couple of alternatives which were pleasant enough. We all had a good natter, and one of the topics that came out, although I have no idea what lead up to it, was the subject of me learning to play guitar. It is all very well two guitar players telling me how easy it is to play guitar, and it is not very easy at all to try and explain how tone deaf I am. At the time I completely forgot to even think about one other good reason why playing guitar would be difficult for me.

 It is more a measure of how I can ignore/forget about the numbness in my little and ring fingers on my left hand. It's not exactly numbness because I can feel with those fingers. I can even just about feel different textures, but it is more a tingling sensation instead of what feeling ought to feel like (if that makes any sense). In many situations I forget about this debility. When I first came out of hospital almost 2 years ago, my left hand was so weak I could hardly do my own trousers up, but now it almost as strong as my right hand. The upshot is that it would feel unbearably horrible to hold guitar strings down on the frets with those two fingers, and even the next one along has reduced sensitivity (although I very rarely notice it). No doubt if I had remembered about my hand, I would be told there are chords you can play that only need one finger, but......

 It was bright and sunny when I went to the pub, and I am sure the weather forecast didn't say anything about rain later in the evening, but it was definitely raining when I left the pub. It wasn't a heavy shower, but neither was it just a light spray. In anticipation of it staying warm and sunny I didn't wear a coat to the pub. So it was a bit of shock to have to walk to the bus stop in the rain. Fortunately the rain did not feel cold, and for at least half the way I was able to shelter under trees. The curious thing was that it sort of felt nice. It felt refreshing, and the rain seemed to make the trees smell rather nice, fresh, and green ! The rain seemed to get heavier once I was on the bus (after no more than a 3 or 4 minute wait), but once we left Bromley it stopped, and the view through the wet, upstairs, front windscreen looked rather nice.
view from top deck
                          of 208 bus as it heads towards Downham from
                          the top of Bromley Hill
 Quite why I thought I could get a fairly presentable picture through a rain streaked windscreen is a mystery, but it seemed to work. Sometimes the camera in my first generation Motorola Moto G phone surprises me !

 I think I only drunk 3 pints in the pub, but that was enough to make me feel rather insatiably peckish when I got home (although it doesn't seem to have needed booze the previous few nights). I tried to curb my enthusiasm as much as I could, but it seemed to be a long evening, and a I ended up munching on several naughty snacks as I waited for a certain event. I had heard that at 15 minutes past midnight Mars would be visible next to the full moon. There two problems, or the same problem from two different sources with this, and both are light pollution. Even with better streetlights, there is still lots of light pollution in, and around London, and the moon itself was so bright that it was almost dazzling !
the moon as seen by
                          my Canon EOS 1200D DSLR camera
This was the moon as seen through the lens of my new Canon EOS 1200D DSLR camera. One of the virtues of this camera is that it can store the images in RAW format, and that means some control of the exposure after the picture is taken. The jpeg version of the image looked very over exposed, and the moon was almost just a blank disk. That camera is very clever, and can do some wonderful things, but my Canon SX40 "bridge" camera can sometimes do better by itself !
the moon as seen by my Canon SX40
 I didn't attempt to stay up to quarter past midnight, but it was about then when I got into bed. Unsurprisingly, being as it was so late by my norms, I fell asleep very quickly, and I slept quite well, although I would have preferred it if I had managed to get 8 hours sleep instead of about 6 hours. I didn't feel too bad when I got up, although I spent a leisurely hour or so acclimatising the real world before doing anything of importance. What I did do was important. It is possible that today might be the last sunny day this year (or at least the last one when I am at home able to make good use of it). So I washed another double duvet cover, and hung it on the line. I still have one more double duvet cover to wash, but essentially I have now caught up with an almost two year backlog!

 The last duvet cover will just have to wait, and with so many freshly washed, ready to use, that last one is not important at all - although it would be nice to get it done just for the sake of completion. On the other hand, it won't be long before it will be joined by the one currently on my bed.

 Once again, time seems to be flying by, and I want to do something today. I want to go to the seaside again, and maybe I will, or maybe I won't. More relevant to right now is that I haven't even decided where to go if I do go ! Perhaps I will contemplate that while I am showering any minute now !!
Thursday 27th August 2015
12:07 BST
  There was some very heavy rain yesterday, but fortunately most of it fell while I was at work indoors. It wasn't raining all the time. Most of the showers occurred around midday, and fortunately it wasn't raining when I walked to the station after work, but it did pour down while I was on the train to Waterloo. I caught the tail end of that rain as I arrived on the platform at Waterloo East station, and I had to stay under the canopy for a few minutes. Then, slowly but surely, the sun came out. Some of the sky was still almost black, but in other parts I could see clear blue sky. Unfortunately that late sunshine did little for the temperature, and I don't think it rose to 20° C at any time. It felt like quite a cool evening and night. This morning it was, and still is, rather cloudy, but there hasn't been any rain, and just as the forecast promised, I am beginning to see little shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds. It is possible that this afternoon could be sunny. Maybe it will only be sunny periods, but that is better than recent days. I'm seeing 21° C on my thermometer at the moment, and with luck it might rise a couple of degrees later this afternoon. Tomorrow is still being forecast as a very sunny day, but it is forecast to start quite cool at just 13° C, and only rise to 20° C at best.

 I felt quite miserable at work yesterday. Mostly it was the dull weather, but some of it was assorted pains mostly in the morning. One of the worst pains, not by it's intensity, but more by resemblance to forthcoming toothache, was where I managed to pierce my gum with a toothpick. It was only a momentary pain, but it did draw blood, and by the taste of it, more than just an odd drip. For many hours afterwards it felt tender and tingly like the start of toothache - the sort of toothache caused by receding gums exposing the porous parts of the teeth that connect to the nerve. If I worry it, it still feels a little tender, but that is to be expected of any wound. The other pains were my usual "floating rib" pains. I have to admit they were surprisingly mild for such a cold and wet day, but even a mild discomfort can be annoying after a long while...and more so when you are feeling generally miserable....and impatient to go home to start a very long, 5 day, bank holiday weekend !

 It was definitely cheery when the sun came out while I waited for my train at Waterloo East. The sunshine continued, and that made me make up my mind about where I was going to do some shopping. I wanted to go to Aldi, but I was feeling rather listless, and it would have been easier to go home via Tesco. Somehow the sunshine gave me the energy, and enthusiasm to decide to go straight home, and then go out again to Aldi. It was sort of nice walking there with the bright sunshine on my back, but all I could see in front of me was a black sky. I did wonder if I was being a bit too brave going there in my shirtsleeves.

 I had some very mixed thoughts while I was in Aldi. I wanted to buy relatively healthy stuff, but I also wanted something nice to cheer myself up. I did buy a lot of salad stuff, and some other slightly healthy stuff, but I also bough a couple of curry ready meals. I ended up eating both, although in my defence, I only ate less than half the rice. So I probably got away with an overdose of fat and salt, but only a moderate dose of carbohydrate. The only problem is that it didn't cheer me up as much as it might have done if miracles actually worked !

 I had to fall back on plan B, and that was to have a couple of very large whiskies. I'm not sure if they worked either, but they probably helped me get a fairly good sleep. I woke up a few times in the night, but I did manage to sleep right through when my alarm would have woken me if I was going to work today. That in itself is a miracle. I've been waking up as much as half an hour early for some time now, but this morning it was closer to half an hour late. I got up for a bit then, but went back to bed. Now I'm not sure how much I slept then. I thought I was awake most of the time, but a couple of hours seemed to have passed when I decided to get up again (maybe even three - I haven't been watching the clock this morning).

 This morning I have been fairly productive. Maybe more productive than I intended to be. The first thing I did was to repair my shower. It only had a little problem, and that was that the end of the tubing had split at the shower head. It was only a cheap and cheerful thing from Poundstretcher than I had bodged together ages ago. I made a temporary repair with loads of gaffer (duct) tape, and I could have nursed that along for some time yet, but I had amassed the bits to do a repair. Poundstretcher no longer sell the cheap and cheerful plastic shower attachments, but they do sell a chromed plastic version that is still cheap and tacky, but doesn't look like it - yet ! The only trouble with that replacement is that it is meant to be plumbed in instead of being attached to a tap. Thankfully I was able to acquire what should be a cable gland used for making waterproof entry points for electrical cables into connections boxes etc. One end had the perfect screw thread for the gland on the new shower hose, and the other had a nice compressed rubber seal for the original hose. A bit of added ptfe tape, and the job was done, and it was perfectly watertight.
old and new shower
                          hoses connected together with a cable gland
  To test the new shower head, and it's hose, I did some laundry. I washed three short sleeved shirts, a heavy duty t-shirt, and a some underpants. After I hung that lot up to dry, and while still wearing the rubber gloves I had used to do the washing,  I decided to have a quick look through a couple of very dusty boxes of old leaflets and stuff. I extracted about three leaflets, and threw the rest away. That's another small corner of my back room that is now clear ! It is a shame I didn't do that yesterday before the wheelie bin was emptied this morning, or there would be room for even more old trash in there today.

 I can only imagine that all the effort required for doing laundry, and tossing out boxes of old paperwork and leaflets, in conjunction with my (presumed) high blood pressure, must have caused some sort of brain seizure. It is the only thing that can explain why I then went on to hoover the bottom of the stairs, plus bit of the front room, the newly exposed bit of back room, a bit of the hallway, and some cobwebs near the front door.

 I can almost imagine doing a bit more hoovering today (must be the end of the world approaching), but there could be other things I want to do as well. Top of the list must be to have my morning shower half a day late, and probably wash my hair too (another good test of the new shower head). I'm also contemplating going to Aldi again. One of their "Thursday Specials" is an infra red mini grill/oven. I think I could make good use of one of those - even if it is only to brown the crust of a twice a year steak pie treat ! I think it said they were only £19.99, and while that represents as much as 5 pints of beer, it won't break the bank if it is under used.....but then again, in the middle of winter, when hot food is a necessity, it may get a lot of use.

 Whatever I do will have to be done quick though. It's Thursday, and that means booze night. Tonight we are drinking in The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley. I may not have found the enthusiasm to go there after work, but I am not at work, and it is easy to get there by bus from here (and not at all easy to get to if I was travelling from Waterloo). The only big decision to make is how long to stay there. I could stay out late tonight, and get very drunk, but I want to try and go out tomorrow (maybe to the seaside), and that dictates that I shouldn't get too carried away tonight !
Wednesday 26th August 2015
08:19 BST
 Yesterday was not as wet as I think I thought it would be. As I think I've said before, since I don't go outside to have a smoke once an hour, I often don't pay as much attention to the weather outside as I used to, and yesterday is no exception. I seem to recall one torrential downpour (although maybe not as torrential as many of the downpours the previous day), but other than that all I remember is it being grey and dull. It was mostly dry when I left work to go home, but it did try and rain semi-hard for a minute or two as I left Catford Bridge station to walk home. For all that it was not that cool. I guess 17° C could be described as tepid. It started similarly tepid this morning. The road was quite wet from earlier rain as I walked to the station in the grey gloom. There were a few spits of rain as I walked, but not enough to justify doing up my rain coat, and putting up the hood. On the way to Waterloo there was some weak sunshine, and although partly obscured, the sun came out to greet us as we got off the train at Waterloo East station. That may have been the last we will see of the sun this morning. More rain is forecast for this morning, and also for the evening, but mid afternoon, and while I am going home, is supposed to be dry, and while it may not be sunny, it is supposed to be bright. Tomorrow, the first day of my extended bank holiday weekend, is still not looking too good, but Friday is still looking promising.

 I felt no inspiration to do much work yesterday. I did a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and a whole lot of not much at all. So it was nice to go home...well maybe not so much nice, but a relief. The only trouble was that I felt very much the same after I got home. There wasn't really anything I was intending to do except to try and eat as sparingly as I could. I guess I achieved that in as much as I did eat as sparingly as I could, except it was not nearly as sparingly as I wanted to. Far from it, in fact !

 I probably, if not certainly, allowed the gloomy weather to get to me - more so because it really ought to be still summer, and not slipping to mid autumn - which is how it feels sometimes. Another problem is that getting my chest wet seems to have had a double whammied effect. The cold and damp is not doing the site of my operation any favours. Like an injury, it does sometimes get a bit cranky in this weather, but there is worse. Last night I seemed to have a tickly throat, and I was coughing a lot sometimes. Most of the time that was no problem, and it was no more than a minor itch compared to some coughs I have had, but when laying on my side, with my ribs already going crunch and pop, it does start to hurt as it causes all sorts of clicks and pops and creaks and groans from my ribs, ligaments, and scar tissue etc.

 It didn't seem to affect my sleep, which was probably about average, neither good, nor bad, but my chest felt very sore when I got up this morning. Doing stuff like brushing my hair, or any arm waving type movements, were really quite uncomfortable. Soon after getting up I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and that has calmed things down a lot, but my chest is still sore - although it does depend on the sort of movements I make. Usually walking is good to stir up my ribs, and get them to settle down in the right places, but on one occasion it actually made things worse. As I walked across the concourse of Waterloo station, but oddly enough nowhere else, I could feel my chest clicking and popping, and unusually it felt quite sore as it was doing so.

 My main task at work today is to build some little test boxes. They are no more than a box with a selection of sockets fitted to it. The internal wiring is no problem, but cutting the holes for the sockets, particularly the two that are rectangular, means lots of filing, and when I made the prototype on Monday, all that filing made my chest hurt a bit. I can imagine that doing the same today could be very uncomfortable. Maybe I should do something else today - like being a lazy bastard at a professional level !

 After work I need to get some shopping. That leads to a difficult decision. Should I take the easy way out and shop at the more expensive Tesco, which also seems to have more temptations for food that I should be avoiding, or should I double (or treble ?) the length of the walk home, and get that shopping in Aldi ? I hope I feel OK when I get back to Catford because I would like to go in Aldi if I can. I haven't been there for a fortnight, and I fear I may be missing out on some sort of bargains. I suspect shopping will be the only thing I'll do tonight. I'll have plenty of time to do anything I need to do tomorrow while I am off work, and the weather is looking like it is going to be stay at home weather !
Tuesday 25th August 2015
07:49 BST
heavy rain at
  I think the picture above gives a pretty good impression of what much of yesterday was like. There were few times when it wasn't raining. Even when it wasn't raining it almost was ! On many occasions it was a torrential downpour, and there was at least one thunderclap, but there was also one strange moment when the sun came out for less than 30 seconds (although it was very weak, hazy sunshine). Somehow the temperature got up to 24 or 25° C, or at least I think it did, but it cooled off rather quickly during the evening. It was just 12° C when I got up this morning, but the weather had completely changed.
sunny morning at
 It won't last long, but for now it is a bright sunny, and maybe slightly chilly morning. It will slowly warm up, but only to 16 to 18° C until the rain starts again sometime early afternoon when the temperature will drop a good few degrees again. The rain should stop again this evening, but way too late to keep me dry when I leave work. The rain is supposed to start again near midnight, and it could be quite heavy. Not only that, but it is forecast to keep going all tomorrow - although curiously, the icons on the BBC website suggest there will be some sunshine during the heavy rain, and thundery showers !

 I felt very variable yesterday. Sometimes I felt semi-OK, and at other times, like after I had finished some heavy duty filing of the metal/plastic working type, I felt a bit rough. Overriding everything was a deep gloominess in tune with the gloomy weather. That gloominess was mostly while I was at work, but it most certainly affected me in the evening in a way that I was barely conscious of from time to time.

 After seeing some really heavy showers while I was in work, it seemed quite good that it was hardly raining at all when I left work. It was only a brief interlude, and by the time I got to the main road I was being sprinkled by a light shower. So I decided to get a bus to the station. Two stops later and that light shower had turned into a torrential downpour. It was quite exhilarating to rush from the bus stop to the shelter of the station, and it was only later that I considered just how wet I was. It was under the shelter of the station canopy that I took the top picture of the downpour (and approximately the same place, but different angle, where I took the picture of the clear sky and sunshine this morning).

 I was pretty damp when I got home again, and yet it didn't feel too bothersome - at least to the extent that I did a few preparations in the kitchen before going up to my room to get into dry clothes. Those kitchen preparation were the start of an evening where I ended up eating too much. I think it was a delayed reaction, or perhaps a continued reaction to the dull and gloomy weather. I may have got away with just 338 calories for breakfast, but I more than made up for that in the evening. I did have a sensible salad with some skinless chicken slices in it, but I also ate several bags of evil snack food, some peanuts, and also some reheated ready-cooked cocktail sausages with melted cheese on top. I had that latter abomination soon after I got home. Sadly enough, it wasn't even that nice !

 My plans to get an early night went all wrong when I decided that I just had to wash my hair. Maybe I should have dug out my hairdryer and, assuming it still works, used that to speed up drying my hair. I didn't, and so I had to wait around watching TV until, at 9pm, my hair was just about dry enough to go to bed. It was at least 9.30pm before I got to sleep, but apart from waking up half an hour before I wanted to, I probably slept quite well for a change.

 This morning I feel quite variable again. My chest feels a bit clicky, but it doesn't seem to be aching. That is sort of surprising considering it got very cold and wet several times yesterday. A bigger annoyance is that the junk I ate on Sunday, and probably all the crap I ate last night, gave me a mild stomach upset this morning. I wasn't 100% sure that I had finished with visits to the toilet before I set off to come to work. Evidently I had, and I feel comfortable now. In fact, while I sit here at my work PC, I do feel unusually comfortable.

 Once again, I have tried to start the day with a minimal breakfast. I bought two more pots of ready mixed salad from Sainsbury's. One was tomato and mozzarella, and contained 164 calories, and the other was Pomardorino tomato, and it only contained 132 calories. Both had minimal amounts of sugars and fats, although the salt content was probably a little high. In theory I could make something similar for my evening meal, and there is a good chance that I will, but I can't stop thinking about the packet of Bratwurst sausages in the fridge that are going to have to be used sooner or later...
Monday 24th August 2015
07:51 BST

  The change from the glories of last Saturday to yesterday were dramatic, but not quite as dramatic as the weather forecast seemed to suggest. The morning was lightly overcast, but still warm and dry. Then, about an hour later than expected, around midday, the rain started. For a while it was heavy, but most of the time it was light-ish, and by 3pm it was just about all over. Then, to my surprise, there was some sunshine - not a lot, but it was still very welcome.
rain a little while
                          after midday
 This was the view at, if I recall correctly, about 12.45pm yesterday. It is fairly bright, but it is very different to the photos I took last Saturday ! I'm unsure how warm it was yesterday, but I could take a guess that it was in the region of 24 - 25° C, and the cloud kept the warmth in making for a warm night. This morning, when I got up a whole hour before sunrise (!), it was at least tepid, and maybe slightly warm 15° C. It was also rather wet outside, but the rain comes and goes. It wasn't raining beyond a few drops now and then when I took this picture of a very crimson sunrise.
crimson sunrise
 The forecast for today does not make for good reading ! To one degree or another, it is going to rain all day today, and the top temperature is only going to be 16° C. Much of the rain may be light to very light, but some of it could be heavy enough to trigger some thunder and lightning. In among all that gloom there is a small ray of hope. At 3pm, although I hope it is an hour later, a few rays of sunshine may peep through the clouds. Perhaps we will get a nice rainbow. The rest of the week may be a little better than today, but the core story is the same - rain ! I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be an unforeseen amazing improvement in the weather for Thursday and Friday when I have booked days off work. To get a day as good as last Saturday would be a miracle, but I'd settle for dry with sunny periods, and the temperature up around 25° C - that's not much to ask for on an August day is it ?
Earlsfield on a
                          rainy morning
Earlsfield at approx 7.20am this morning looking very damp during a brief lull in the light drizzly rain.

 I didn't get around to saying that I felt really quite good yesterday morning. I didn't seem to have any bothersome aches or pains - which was nice a surprise after so much travelling and a bit of walking - although I did have some of the usual low level creaks and groans from assorted bits of my body. One of the best feelings was a feeling that my stomach felt tighter, even slightly smaller, and maybe to a limited degree it was. To a greater degree it was largely illusion. It didn't make washing a few shirts and some underwear any easier, and it didn't make my walk to the shops any easier - or did it ?

 Maybe I did feel a sort of positive difference when I walked to the shops, but it is hard to describe what that difference was. Maybe it was just a gap between how I thought I ought to feel after walking further than I am currently accustomed to on the Saturday, to how I actually felt. I think it may have felt like it needed less effort to walk to the shops than usual. All I know is that by the end of yesterday I was regretting not being able to control my eating. I didn't go mad, and I didn't have anything with notable amounts of sugar in it, but I ate a lot of cold fried chicken, and other assorted stuff. I'm not sure what was the worse thing, but I would hazard a guess it was the several small packets of spicy tomato flavour Cheetos that I bought from the Poundshop. They are puffed up, and incredibly light, and yet they almost certainly pack in all sorts of undesirables - as can be expected from any American snack food. I didn't dare look at the ingredients or any other information on the packets because I didn't want to scare myself silly !

 It is also possibly regrettable that apart from the morning laundry, and shopping trip, I didn't really do anything useful yesterday. I wasn't exactly bored, but being idle meant I had more time to think about feeling like eating. Not only that, but it meant I slept badly. Well that's nothing new as such, but I have slept fairly well on a few recent nights. I got in bed a bit later than intended, and initially I couldn't sleep. Then when I did get to sleep I woke up again about 4 hours later with my pillow wet with sweat. It was a warmish night, but I think that sweat was something else - probably medical in a negative sort of way.

 This morning I got up feeling no worse, or no better than what seems to pass as average these days. I was up before 5am, but I spent some time at my PC as I got used to being an upright walking ape. For a small period of time I felt passably OK until I brushed my teeth. For some reason I used my big toothbrush (I usually use a smaller one in the morning), and after some vigorous tooth scrubbing I managed to get toothpaste at the back of my throat, and I gagged. I came very close to throwing up. That would not have been pleasant, but all the dry heaving did have a most unpleasant effect on my "floating ribs". It made my chest feel quite sore, and it wasn't until I was doing a fairly fast walk from the station to work that I threw off most of the aching.

 Now I am here at work, out of the rain, and sitting mostly quietly, I don't feel too bad apart from a mild, tired feeling headache. In an ideal world I would be sitting in a big old, horsehair stuffed, knackered, but incredibly comfortable, armchair, and having a snooze. I am referring to an ancient armchair that used to be at my mums house over 30 years ago. Heaven knows what may have been living inside it, but it was more comfortable than any armchair I have ever sat in since ! In an attempt to recover some of the energy I had last Saturday, I have eaten sparsely for breakfast. All I had was two ready made Sainsbury's salads. One was a "Greek" salad, and the other was a tomato and mozzarella salad. One pot had 164 calories, and the other 174 calories. Both had fairly small amounts of sugar and other stuff like that.

 I'll see if I can tame my enthusiasm for eating when I get from work today, but under a gloomy and depressing grey sky it is not going to be easy. It is probably lucky that I don't have anything too contentious in the fridge or freezer, but I do have some peanuts in the cupboard. I wonder if I can try and forget they are there before I get home ? I have no plans for tonight beyond trying to get to sleep fairly early (and then trying to sleep through the night). Maybe I'll go to bed extra early with something to read, and then read until I feel my eyelids drooping.
Sunday 23rd August 2015
09:00 BST

  Yesterday was a perfect summers day ! The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun was shining, and the temperature was a delicious 30° C. Today will not be so good. It was a warm night, and the temperature now is a very pleasant 22° C, but the sky is more grey than blue. Occasionally the sun breaks through for a minute or two, but rain is forecast, and it could start in as little as a couple of hours time. By mid afternoon the temperature may be 25° C, and that sort of temperature could turn a shower into a thunderstorm. One school of thought, according to those ever wacky weather forecasters, is that the band of rain will have passed us by before it is warm enough to cook up a thunderstorm. Tomorrow is still looking quite grim - cold and wet ! That could continue for quite a few days, and ruin the days off  I have booked this coming Thursday and Friday.

 Hopefully yesterday will not have been the last summer day this year, but if it was I can at least say I made good use of it. First thing in the morning I washed another duvet cover, and hung it on the washing line to dry in the sunshine, and spiders webs ! Those bloody spiders are a nuisance. I really must cut back the overhanging tree branches, well twigs really, that they drop down from. After doing battle with the hand laundry, and repelling the arachnid invasion, I set about planning a day out.

 I wanted to go to Eastbourne, but it is a very tedious journey, and seemed stupidly expensive on the train. Then I had a brainwave (or brainstorm). I decided to go to Hastings, and then if I felt up to it, I could, and did catch another train to Eastbourne. There is one problem with Eastbourne, or at least I thought there was. That problem was that there didn't seem to be any other station I could walk to from Eastbourne station. That may have been true yesterday because I am out of practice in walking long distances, but upon consulting a map, I found that I had actually walked over a third, maybe getting on towards half the way to Pevensey station. That station is not on this map of where I walked yesterday.
walking around
I walked an anti-clockwise route starting at the railway station.

Here's some sights along the way. Clicking on any of these small pictures opens up a high resolution version in a new browser tab (or new page in older browsers).

busking in Eastbourne
Buskers in Eastbourne town
Eastbourne Pier
lamp posts on pier
Many of the lamp posts on the pier have this lovely lions head motif.
an assortment of boats off
An assortment of boats
Vladimir Putin fishing at
I think this might be Vladimir Putin fishing on the shingly beach at Eastbourne
canon at Fort Redoubt
In the past England had a very robust answer to illegal immigrants !
crappy road train
A rather stupid looking road train.
splendid church in the back
A rather splendid looking church in the back streets between the seafront and the station.
28.5 degrees at Eastbourne station
Look closely, maybe clicking on the picture for a much bigger view, and you'll see this thermometer, located on Eastbourne station, is saying 28.5° C in the shade at about 4pm.
 It was a very long journey getting to Eastbourne, and an even longer journey coming back. First of all there was a signal failure in the Polegate, Sussex area, that brought all the trains at Eastbourne to a standstill. Once that was fixed there was a follow on problem - a points failure meant nothing could get into, or out of Eastbourne station (which is a terminus station). I had to wait 40 - 50 minutes, half on the platform, and half on a stationary train before we set off. It was a nice brisk journey to St Leonards Warrior Square station where I had to change for a less brisk train back to Sevenoaks. Some trains call at more intermediate stations, and some less. I got the one that stops at more ! From Sevenoaks the only choice is the stopping train all the way back to Catford.

 It must have been over a 3 hour journey back to Catford, and it was very tedious ! The good thing was that I didn't feel too knackered when I got back. Even my feet were only slightly sore. I had taken a gamble that my cheap and nasty slip on Chinese made white plimsolls, that seem to be comfortable for a day at work, would also be fairly good on a longer walk - and they were (although I'm not sure how they would hold up if I ever get the stamina back to walk 7, or even 10 miles).

 The very strangest thing was that I didn't feel particularly hungry when I got back. I was very aware that I had not eaten anything at all since the previous evening, but I felt no urgency to eat again. That allowed me to treat myself to a take away of peri-peri grilled chicken. Of course I ruined that a bit by eating a portion of horrible American style "French fries" with it, but that is all I ate before having some chicken wings for breakfast this morning.

 I expected to be in bed very early after getting home yesterday, but I had to wait until almost 9pm (I think it was actually 8.45pm) until my breakfast/lunch/dinner/supper was delivered, and then after that I sat down and started reviewing and editing the pictures I had taken. I think it was gone 11pm when I finally got onto my bed. It didn't take long to fall asleep, and I slept until 3am before briefly getting up to turn the fan off that had kept me cooler when I first went to bed, but was starting to chill me a bit. As usual, I didn't sleep all that well after 3am, but I managed a few more hours (maybe).

 I did have plans to wash one of the remaining two unwashed double duvet covers today, but I don't think the weather is favourable to it. However I have washed three short sleeved shirts, and some underwear, and later on I may wash a few small hand towels. Before the rain starts, which is now looking quite soon, I want to do a bit of shopping, and maybe I'll also sort out another big dustbin bag of crap from my back room - bits of which are starting to look almost civilised now. In another century or two it may even be usable as a dining room again !
Saturday 22nd August 2015
07:30 BST

  I don't think the temperature hit the forecast 25° C yesterday, although my office did hit 27.5° C in the afternoon. Strangely enough, it didn't seem to feel that warm yesterday. It wasn't that I was just not moving around much at work, but even when I was going home, and, for instance, doing a fair paced walk to the station, I never seemed to feel too warm. Maybe the breeze made it feel fresher, but it was only a very mild breeze. It was warm enough to leave my bedroom window open all night, and I think I slept mostly uncovered all night. It is just 16° C now, but apart from some high wispy clouds, the sky is blue, and the forecast for 29° C, and brilliant sunshine, seems like it is going to come true. Thankfully, the forecast for tomorrow has improved. There will be more cloud about, but we should still get some nice sunshine, and the temperature should rise to a very pleasant 25° C. Monday is looking grim ! Just 18° C and probably quite wet !

 As the day slowly limped through the hours I began to feel a little more alive at work.  In the morning I had my 1-to-1 with my manager. It's a relatively new thing at work that we all have, and I think it is for the benefit of my manager. Since he was elevated to official manager, instead of just the head, or lead person, of development, he has had to become more managerial, and I don't think he really likes it. Things were far more informal before, and he was actually part of the team despite having notional managerial duties. Now he needs these 1-to-1's to understand what is going on, and to feel more grounded. So I avoided all the confrontational issues, and we had a nice chat about technical stuff which I think we both enjoyed.

 Although I was really looking forward to getting home, and really looking forward to today, I still didn't seem to be able to raise the energy and enthusiasm to make going home anything more than the traditional wasted hour of my life ! However, when I got back to Catford I didn't feel knackered, and I enjoyed doing a little careful shopping in Tesco. Once again it seemed to be another quite cheap visit there. It's not that their prices have dropped, oh no, but that I didn't buy that much. I did get a till ticket saying that I had saved a whole 87p compared to if I had bought the same items from other supermarkets that don't actually exist in Catford. There are 4 supermarkets in Catford - Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, and Iceland - and Tesco don't compare their prices with any of them. They compare them with Sainsbury's - a bus ride away in Lewisham, Morrisons - a longer bus ride away in Beckenham, and Waitrose - also in Beckenham (I think). There is a Co-Op a short bus ride away in Bellingham, and I thought that should be quite cheap, but I am told it has pretensions of being upmarket, and surprisingly expensive !

 Having done my careful shopping in Tesco I went straight home and proceeded to tuck into two of the worst things I bought - tortilla chips and a small pot of seafood sandwich  filler used as a sort of dip.  Then I had a more formal bit of dinner - sort of (well it was eaten in front of the TV instead of the PC !). They are terribly naughty, but I bought a half price bag of hot assorted chicken bits flavoured with some sort of barbecue like creosote. In theory that was going to be the last thing I ate yesterday, but of course that never happened.

 One reason why it didn't happen is that I seemed to find the energy, and enthusiasm to hand wash four short sleeved work shirts. It felt good to do that, but it also gave me an appetite. So I ate the two packs of half price sandwiches I was going to eat today. I didn't do anything of any note after that, and at 10pm I got in bed, or  to be more accurate, I got on my bed. As usual, I didn't think it would happen, but with 5 minutes I was fast asleep. More surprising is that I seemed to sleep unusually well. I think I woke at the traditional annoying time of 3am, but this time I was asleep again after a few minutes. I eventually woke again at just before 6.30am. That seemed a fair time to get up.

 It took the usual half hour for my body to start working in "day mode", but once it did I tackled two of the things I had hoped to do today. The first was to hand wash another double duvet cover, and the second was to go out in the garden wielding a broom to sweep all the huge spiders, and their gigantic webs from the washing line (and any other place where I was liable to bump into one). With the line, and it's surroundings clear, I hung out the double duvet cover to bake dry in today's sunshine. On reflection, I am not sure why I didn't throw the duvet cover away. One side of it is sateen, and it has seen far better days. It is bobbly, fluffy, and.....well, just generally very worn in the way that cheap and nasty sateen goes after a while. However, it is fine for me to use in the privacy of my own room at least one more time.

 The next thing on the agenda is to wash me and my hair, and then decide what I am going to do today. I definitely want to go out in the sun, and I think I want to challenge myself to try and walk a bit further than I have done for ages now. Maybe 4 to 5 miles. A walk by the sea would be nice, but I fear the trains will be busy, and I am not yet sure what routes are running, and which have rail replacement buses because of engineering work. Worst of all is that the beaches will probably be full of screaming idiots ! Oh well, time to get the maps, and online railway route planner humming!
fluffy cotton wool
I can't decide which of these two pictures is nicest of the fluffy clouds yesterday evening.
fluffy white clouds
The top picture was taken with my little Nikon 6300D camera, and the lower just using the camera in my mobile phone a few seconds later. Both have been "tweaked" a bit, but I think that the mobile phone picture was probably the best to start with. This was at about 7pm looking to the west.
Friday 21st August 2015
08:12 BST

  It wasn't as grey as it could have been yesterday. I can't recall there being any sunshine, but the afternoon was sort of bright, and at least the temperature was comfortable - although I am not sure what that temperature actually was. I also don't know what it cooled down to by this morning, but I would guess the temperature was in the region of 15° C when I walked to the station. Unfortunately it has been a very dull start to the day, and it seems quite humid too. All that should change soon. In fact the genesis of that change can now be seen. The clouds are breaking up, and I can now see little bits of blue sky. The forecast says that it will become increasingly sunny, and it will warm up a bit too. We may see 25° C if we are lucky. All this is a rehearsal for tomorrow when brilliant hot sunshine is forecast for most of the day (it might fizzle out before sunset), and the temperature could soar to 29° C !  Sunday was forecast to be very wet, but the latest forecast suggests the worst won't happen until Monday, and Sunday, while not perfect, could be a pleasant day.

 I don't know if it is anything to do with the changing weather, or if it is something completely different, but I failed to regain any "zing" yesterday. I don't think that was any time when I was in any sort of annoying discomfort, but I definitely couldn't raise much enthusiasm for anything - not even for the Thursday night, after work, drink. Of course I looked forward to it, but not with the enthusiasm I should have.  I was thinking of popping into Poundland to pick up a few bits and pieces, such as kitchen paper, before going to The Catford Constitutional Club, but I couldn't be bothered to do that.

 I think one of the things that was getting me down was that I wanted to stick to a plan of having no more than three pints of beer. It was probably one of those days where it would have been ice to be able to throw caution to the wind, and have a good drink, but I stuck to my boring plan, and just had the three pints - consisting of two half pints, and two whole pints. One of those half pints was a weird pale ale that was infused with lime (juice). It was pleasantly weird, but I think a half pint was a suitable quantity of it. The end of a full pint might have started to get unpleasant. Another interesting beer was call "Will You Marry Me" - which is a very strange name for a beer ! It was described as a strawberry blonde beer, and it was refreshingly light, and did indeed have a hint of strawberries in it.

 After my three pints I went straight home. I did my best to eat lightly, and indeed I had two bowls of salad - one with added ham, and the other just as it came. The latter did have some cubes of mozzarella cheese, and a basil dressing in it. If I hadn't had the beer I may have been able to get away with just that, but the beer gave me the munchies, and I had other "bad" stuff. The worst was a whole small packet (very small once the packaging was stripped away) of goats cheese and black pepper crackers.

 I don't know whether to blame the crackers or the beer, but after almost 6 hours of seemingly good sleep, I woke up at 3am feeling a bit strange, and unable to get back to sleep properly. It was one of those occasions where if I didn't have to get up for work, I would have got up for a couple of hours at 3am, and then gone back to bed - a strategy that sometimes works to get a couple of extra hours of sleep. I don't know how long I had been asleep when I woke up at about 4.45am, and decided I couldn't be bothered to fight to stay asleep any more.

 This morning I feel a bit like I did yesterday, and that is neither good nor bad. The start and end walking parts of my journey to work I did at a sedate pace....well, maybe not "sedate", but I couldn't find the enthusiasm, or energy to rush. The middle bit of walking, the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo stations, was done at a slightly restrained mad dash, but it's a case of "keep up or die", and so it has to be done as fast as feasible ! Now I am at work I don't feel exactly comfortable. I can't describe why, but I feel a little edgy. Some of it is that "I can't wait for the day to be over so the weekend can start" sort of feeling, and some is something I can't define.

Maybe it is going to be a miserable day at work, or maybe it will turn out OK, and if the sun comes out properly today, it could turn out OK, but at least I am off to a healthy start...if a still twitching corpse can be healthy !
breakfast ? Yes,
                          breakfast !
 Now which should I have for breakfast ? Which one did I have for breakfast ??  I couldn't decide which to have, and I don't think I intended to. I had both ! They were both carrot free, and so low in sugars, and the two combined had less calories than some sandwiches I might have bought (and I would usually eat two packs of sandwiches !). I think the two combined came to just under 400 calories. Of course it could be that stuffing myself with all that green fibre is the reason for a very mild stomach ache like ache that I am now suffering from. It's a bit of mild bloat feeling, but a different sort of bloat to a full stomach. It's like so many odd aches and pains these days, it is hard to describe or define just why it should feel almost, but not quite, ignorably uncomfortable.

 Oh well, once the working day is over I am free to do whatever I fancy. If I want to stay up half the night I can because I don't have to go to work in the morning, but I don't want to do that. What I want to do is to get up bright and early feeling good enough to make use of the bright sunshine. I haven't checked to see what the possibilities of getting to the seaside are tomorrow, but if there are no engineering works going on (unlikely), and no "rail replacement buses" (ugh !), then I hope to feel good enough to spend a couple of hours at the seaside, and maybe do a couple of miles of walking. Alternatively, but maybe in addition, it would be nice to wash another duvet cover (or maybe even two), and get them hanging in the sunshine to dry. There is only one difficulty in using the washing line at the moment - I haven't got a flamethrower ! All I can see when I look out my kitchen window at the garden is huge spiders webs everywhere. Some of them are big enough to catch Boeing 747s !!!!
Thursday 20th August 2015
08:12 BST

  The forecast for yesterday turned out to be wrong in the best way. Until about 7pm the day was bright, and far more frequently sunny than even the most doubly optimistic interpretation of the weather forecast. By 6pm, when it was supposed to be raining, it was getting overcast, and the first rain began to fall around 7pm. The forecast only allowed for an hour or two of rain, but there seemed to be good evidence that it must have rained through most of the night. This morning the roads were very wet, but there were a few spots that were starting to dry out. It looks as if the rain might have stopped a little later here in Earlsfield. It was a comfortable 22° C when I got home from work yesterday, and this morning is a cooler 17° C. Unfortunately, today is forecast to be a very grey day, and when I look out my office window it feels like that forecast is spot on. Of course things could change during the day, but I don't hold out much hope that we will see much, if indeed any, sunshine today. At least the temperature will be reasonable - at least 20° C. The future looks better. Saturday was forecast to be warm and sunny, and now it is looking like it could even be loitering on the fringes of hot with oodles of sunshine. it will probably snow !

 Yesterday was an odd day. While I was at work I didn't feel bad, but I was some way short of feeling good - on average. At any instant I might have felt quite good or quite bad. Going home was not the joy it could have been, but it had it's moments. It felt good to be alive after deliberately not getting a bus to the station, and then finding the lift was out of order at the station. Even at my very fittest, back in the days when I could walk 10 miles almost non stop, I hated going up the three flights of stairs to the platform at Earlsfield station. So to walk all the way to the station, then climb those bloody stairs at a quite reasonable pace, and then walk to the far end of the platform at a brisk pace, and still have enough oxygen in my blood to not turn purple, was a great achievement I would prefer not to have to achieve again !

 When I arrived back in Catford I went straight to Tesco where I spent not much money at all ! There were only three things I shouldn't have bought. They were two reduced price (59p) egg and cress sandwiches, and a reduced price (83p) mini pie thing. The egg and cress sandwiches were mostly innocent, but I have been trying to avoid bread and other obvious sources of starches and sugars again. On the other hand they were part of Tesco's (alleged) Healthy Eating range - which was almost certainly why they didn't taste very nice. The mini pie had all sorts of things wrong with it, and if I was really serious I would throw it away rather than eat it. In theory they are very nice, but maybe it is because I have always eaten previous ones cold, straight from the fridge, that I tend to think they are a bit tasteless. These particular mini pies use greasy pastry to enclose some fatty, and chemical laden, ham topped off with a very sugary chutney/relish type stuff. It's madness to eat them, but that is probably what I'll end up doing tonight.

 Everything else I bought from Tesco was very healthy sort of stuff - several bowls of ready made salad, and some peri-peri (flavour) ready cooked skinless chicken. I also bought some salad dressing from Tesco's Healthy Eating range. The figures they quote look good until you notice that they are for a mere spoonful of dressing. How in Lennon's name is a spoonful of dressing going to add anything to a bowl of salad ? At least, when used by the pint (!) they do add a pleasant taste to a salad. I had two salads last night (as well as the horrible egg and cress sandwiches). One salad was topped with the ready cooked peri-peri (type flavour) skinless chicken, and the other was with the last of some ham trimmings I had bought from Aldi the last time I was there. The first was dressed in low something or another "Balsamic Dressing", and the other with "French Dressing". The latter didn't seem to have a very useful flavour, but it did add a little something, whatever that something was.

 I'm not sure how it happened, but I didn't go to bed until quite late last night - where anything beyond 9pm is quite late. I think it was 10pm before I even tried to go to sleep, and last night it did seem to take longer than the previous couple of nights before I fell asleep. Some of my sleep was good, and some was bad. I remember turning over a couple of times and my "floating ribs" going crunch when I turned onto my left side. That left my chest feeling a bit tender for a lot of the night. I think I was sleeping mostly quite well when I woke up from an erotic dream at 3am.

 What made that dream very strange was that I cannot actually recall seeing the object of my carnal desires (to put it strangely !). It was like some mating ritual that birds, maybe bower birds, do. I had rivals, and I have no idea who they were, and we had to provide a pair of International Rescue style boots to our intended loved one. I'm not exactly sure what International Rescue (aka Thunderbirds) boots are supposed to look like, but the boots in my dream were sort of like a pale grey, with a hint of blue suede version of a Dr Martins boot. From the vague remembered image in my head, everyone's offerings all looked identical, but somehow I knew that mine had been accepted. It was all rather vague and mysterious, and I was very keen for part two to start when I fell asleep again. Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. All I can recall is that from 3am onwards I didn't sleep at all well.

 This morning I feel basically OK, but not as good as yesterday. Nothing hurts beyond the usual stiffness and creaking that is usual on any day, but more so on a damp morning like today. My chest is not aching at the moment, but that comes as a surprise because it has been doing lot of clicking, grating and popping this morning. There were times when it felt like my whole sternum was swinging loose as I walked along. Maybe the lack of energy I feel this morning meant that I didn't walk vigorously enough to really upset my chest superstructure. Maybe it is not a lack of physical energy, but just that the low grey clouds mean extra effort is needed to push through the gloom !

 Tonight is boozing night, and although I am going to try and limit myself to three or less pints, I think it is going to be enjoyable....well maybe. We are drinking in The Catford Constitutional Club tonight, but that place doesn't seem to get many nice beers any more - and hasn't done for some time. That is a bit strange considering it is the same staff as used to run The Catford Bridge Tavern - and they used to have some wonderful beers there. Maybe tonight they will have something good on.

 News from the neighbourhood : It doesn't really effect me - unless, or until, they make a massive mistake, but close by British Gas are digging a big hole in the road. It must have been really noisy for my close neighbours if they were in during the day, and it must be a grand annoyance to motorists with the road cut down to a single, rather tight lane.
a hole in the road
                          for new gas pipes
Wednesday 19th August 2015
08:00 BST

  I'm just trying to think if I am justified in saying that yesterday's weather was just as disappointing as I expected it to be. Maybe it wasn't quite always as dull as it could have been, but overall it was a slightly cool (for summer), and rather grey day. I don't recall bothering to check my thermometer when I got home from work, but I would not be surprised if it wasn't reading something very close to the 20° C that was forecast. I think that the forecast for yesterday was one of the more accurate forecasts. So it's good to know that the forecast for today has started off wrong - but maybe just the timing.
red sky in the
 This was the view from my bathroom window in a north west direction at 5.30am. It's still a few minutes to go before official sunrise, but it's already light enough to see the houses and bits of blue sky. Less obvious in this picture is the red tinge on the cloud facing the rising sun.
clouds to the west
                          at sunrise
 This is the view towards the west at 06:00am. There is more blue sky visible, and the eastern side of the clouds still have a hint of pink (despite it not being obvious in this photo). The weather forecast says that we could have some brief sunny spells at around 11am today, and not while I was travelling to work. In the hour and a bit it takes to travel from Catford to Earlsfield there was almost continuous sunshine. The sun was still very low in the sky, and didn't carry any noticeable heat, but it was nice and cheery. It is still sunny now, but the clouds are definitely thickening. If the sun was shining about three hours before the forecast said it would, then I hope the next major feature doesn't move three hours forward. From 7pm, for maybe a few hours, it is very likely to rain. Move that forward three hours and I stand a good chance of getting wet on my way home from work. Tomorrow could be grey and wet, and so could Friday, but on Saturday the forecasters are sitting on the fence - it will be a sunny day and a rainy day !

 I didn't feel that bad most of the time I was at work, and maybe because of that I didn't feel any exhilaration when I was going home from work, and when I got home. At least I wasn't suffering from a slightly earlier malady when I was going home. Something like an hour before I left work I felt ravishingly hungry. I could have eaten a horse ! Fortunately the feeling faded away before I started travelling - although maybe not faded to nothing. I still had a rather enthusiastic appetite which needed a lot of control when I got home.

 One other curious thing that I noticed on the way home (and maybe earlier ?) was a change in the way my chest was popping and clicking as I moved about. Usually these strange sensation appear higher up my chest, but yesterday there were definitely some sensations from lower down - practically at the bottom of my rib cage. Like the sensations higher up are usually, these were completely painless, but still feel damn weird sometimes (and of course sometimes it does cause some sort of painful inflammation that takes days to settle down again). These lower pains definitely feed my wild imagination that all these chest pains and inflammation are the result of the surgeon dropping his cigarette lighter, or wristwatch in me when he did my quad heart bypass operation almost 2 years ago. Of course I don't really believe that happened, but I want to - just for fun ! It would be so "Carry On" !!

 My major failing last night was to eat some peanuts. I had two bowls of salad for my dinner. One had some bits of skinless "barbecue flavour" chicken in, and was dressed with olive oil and "velvety fig" flavour vinegar. The other had some lean ham and a fairly generous splattering of mayonnaise. Both were mostly innocent, but that wasn't the case with the peanuts. Peanuts are a source of huge amounts of energy - and flavour, and delicious crunchy texture - and I had an overwhelming desire for both. The only mitigating factor is that I have learned to pour out a small portion into either a small whisky glass, or small plastic pot rather than take the whole big bag with me. This method allows me to make a big bag of peanuts last several days or more instead of a few hours !

 After my good sleep the night before, I didn't feel so tired last night, and I allowed myself to stay up until almost 9pm. Once I was in bed I went through the typical thinking I wouldn't get to sleep before falling asleep five minutes later. I could easily wish that I had slept a lot better, but it probably wasn't so bad a sleep. One indicator that I was probably waking up more frequently than I realised is that I recall dreaming a lot - even if I can't remember much about those dreams now. The most annoying thing, although it could also be taken as a good sign, is that I woke up 20 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I would have liked to have had 20 minutes more sleep, but maybe I didn't actually need them.

 This morning I have the usual background aches and pains, and stiffness, but I actually feel sort of good. Early morning sunshine lifts the spirits, but maybe it also means a change in air pressure, and maybe that has a beneficial effect on some of the more rheumatic type pains and stiffness, or just general creakiness. It is not just this morning that I seem to have more energy than usual - although that energy seems to be concentrated in my legs. Sometimes, mostly in the previous few days, my upper body feels half dead with fatigue, and yet my legs almost feel like they could still walk the 10 miles non stop that they used to be able to once. This morning may be an improvement on that because the top of my body didn't feel semi-comatose as my legs took me to work without too much strain.

 While I have definitely had a few excesses, and followed a few blind ends, I have tried to be a bit careful with what I eat, and how much of it, for the last few weeks (any maybe more), and on mornings like this it does seem to be having a beneficial effect. I think it was last week that I reported I could squeeze into a pair of jeans that I had not really been able to wear for a year or more - and not only squeeze into them, but to actually wear them to work for one day (though that was a mistake). This morning my trousers do seem to be very slightly looser, but more significantly, although I could be imagining it, there seems to be less overhang of my belt. The effect doesn't last long enough unfortunately, but for a brief moment in time it is sort of inspirational. For instance, half my breakfast was a small ready made salad from Sainsburys.
how much sugar ?
 I must admit I was rather disappointed with how much fat and sugar there was in a pack of salad - until I realised that it included a sachet of high fat, high sugar "creamy chive dressing". I should have discarded that dressing, but I didn't, and it was probably nicer for not doing so. At least some of that dressing was clinging to the side of the bowl, and so not licking the bowl out may have saved a few micro grammes ! The other half of my breakfast was a naughty but nice, chicken tikka with stuff wrapped in flatbread. Maybe tomorrow I might just have salad, and discard the dressing - but only if the sun is shining - which it is not forecast to do !

 I have several things to do tonight, and all should be easily achievable. I need to get a bit of shopping in, and my hair needs washing. If I still feel vaguely positive when I get back to Catford I will do a most careful shop in Tesco. Some more ready made salads, and maybe some lean meat to go with them. Ready made salad is definitely not the most economic way to eat salad, but it is very convenient, and particularly so when just buying for one person. I must make a point of not buying any mayonnaise to put on those salad - although it is probably no more evil than a good sprinkle of olive oil and vinegar. I have yet to work out why sometimes oil and vinegar is more appealing that mayonnaise, or even salad cream, but sometimes it is.
Tuesday 18th August 2015
07:53 BST

  Until I got home from work it was bright, and often sunny yesterday. I think the temperature reached at least 20° C, and maybe a little higher. Soon after getting home, maybe from about 5.30, it started getting quite dull outside. In theory there should have been three hours of daylight left, but it was dull enough to needs the lights on. This morning the temperature is a rather fresh feeling 15° C, and there hasn't been a hint of the sun. It is rather gloomy, and the forecast says it will stay like all day. The only good thing is that the temperature should rise to 20° C again, and it should stay dry. Unfortunately it seems that it will be like this for the rest of the week until Saturday, when there might be some sunshine, and it might also rain !

 I felt pretty dreadful yesterday morning, but as the day wore on I began to feel better and better. Even the dreadful tiredness after an extremely bad nights sleep seemed to evaporate. I was feeling good enough that I deliberately didn't even look for a bus when I left work, and I had an easy walk to the station (which is often true, but these days it sort of annoys me not to get a little extra mileage out of my 60+ free travel Oyster Card). By the time I arrived home I was feeling sort of wonderful. I had no significant aches or pains, and I didn't feel tired at all. I even seemed to be breathing less hard after fairly quick walk from the station.

 I kept feeling like that all the time I was moving around. As soon as I sat down to my double salad dinner (one salad with pre-cooked salmon, and the other with some cheese) I began to get a few twitches from my chest, and maybe I began to feel very slightly tired. I may have only been slightly tired but I knew that I was running a large sleep deficit, and so I made sure I was in bed extra early - and by extra early I mean just before 7pm ! Initially I tried to sleep on my back, and if I had persevered I may have managed it, but after a while I turned over on my side, and my chest went crack !

 From then onwards I had variable amounts of discomfort from my chest as well as a few other places that would seem to have nothing to do with my chest. I may have fallen asleep by 7.30pm, and although I woke up a few times during the night, those periods were quite short. It is possible that I managed to get almost 9 hours sleep, and once again, if my alarm had not woken me up, I could have got even more. I got up when my alarm went off at 5am, and felt quite groggy for a few minutes. Once that had settled down I still didn't feel that good. My chest was not exactly hurting, but it did feel very tender, and I suspected it would not need much to set it off again. It may have been quite handy that I had decided to wear slip on shoes today because pulling up the laces, particularly on my left shoe, usually causes my chest to crack and pop in alarming ways.

 I don't feel too bad now I am at work. My chest still feels edgy, but at no time this morning has it prompted me to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to reduce any inflammation. I do feel rather tired still, and maybe more so after eating some breakfast - rather too much breakfast. I wanted to see if I could buy a ready made salad from the Sainsbury's "local" at Earlsfield, but I couldn't see the sort of thing I was looking for, but I did see some smallish pots of other stuff like beans, sugar snap peas and peas, and chicken and pasta. I couldn't decide what I wanted, and so I bought them both - as well as a chicken tikka and stuff on flatbread. The latter was very nice, and the other two were so so. If I was really disciplined I should have eaten only one of these things. I'll just have to try and be more disciplined when I get home and have dinner. Maybe I'll have something similar to last night again. That seemed relatively healthy. Then I'll see if I can go to bed early again.
Monday 17th August 2015
08:13 BST

  After a bright sunny morning it became rather dull, and overcast yesterday afternoon. That stopped it getting any warmer than it was by late morning - perhaps 20 - 21° C. During the night the temperature fell to 13° C, and that was cool enough to trigger the heating on my train from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East. The forecast for today starts both right and wrong. It is 2° C cooler than the forecast, but the day has certainly started off nice and sunny. If the forecast continues to be as correct then it should stay sunny until early afternoon. We will probably lose the sunshine when I head home from work, but it should be pleasantly warm at around 21° C. Tomorrow is not looking very exciting. The current forecast says it will be overcast all day, and the temperature may well stay under 20° C !

 To help relax, or whatever, my crunchy chest, I decided to wash a fitted sheet and two pillow cases yesterday. I am not sure if it worked on this occasion. I felt OK afterwards, but later in the day I began to feel rather dodgy. The other unfortunate thing was that there was not enough sun left to completely dry that sheet, and I had to bring it in to dry indoors while it was still a bit damp. I seemed to spend quite a lot of yesterday either scanning old photos, or laying on my bed reading or snoozing. Eventually I'll sort out some scanned pictures to show here.

 When I finally went to bed, last night, I felt really rotten. I was mostly OK until I laid down when I had some pains in my chest area that seemed to be a little different to the more common "floating rib" pains that I suffer from a lot these days. This was particularly so when I laid on my side - either side. I did consider that it could well be some more heart trouble rather than bones, ligaments and muscles. It made getting to sleep quite tricky, but I did manage to get at least a couple of hours sleep in the night, although it did seem that I was awake far more than I was asleep.

 At about 1.30am I got up and made sure that my emergency rucksack, containing mini laptop, mobile phone charger, and a toothbrush and toothpaste, were ready to go if I decided I had to walk to the hospital. I definitely didn't want to do that because my hair was filthy, and I was rather smelly after not washing at all yesterday. Maybe if I had washed in the morning, and gone for a walk around the shops, I would not have been feeling quite so bad, but it's easy to say that with hind sight. So I gritted my teeth, and snatched sleep whenever it came. The best sleep I got was the last sleep. I think it was almost 2 hours non stop, and if my alarm had not woken me, I might easily still have been asleep now.

 I still feel a bit dodgy this morning, but only when I stop ! Walking to the station was easy and comfortable. In fact it seemed very easy for some reason. All the rushing about at Waterloo was easy too, and curiously enough, didn't seem to get me breathing as hard as usual. The same is true for the walk to Catford Bridge station, and the walk from Earlsfield station to work. Of course now I am sitting down at my desk, and relaxed, my chest feels sore again, but in the cold light of day it is a different sort of discomfort to laying in bed in the dark. I suspect my main problem today will be extreme tiredness after getting so little sleep - and not much of what I did get was quality sleep. I had to really concentrate to stop myself falling asleep on the train this morning ! Oh well, if worst comes to worst, I've washed my hair, had a shower, and most importantly, I have clean underwear on !

 This morning Lucosade were encouraging obesity by giving away free bottles of their sugar water on the concourse of Waterloo station. It is possible that the version in blue bottles is sugar free, but how they can sell that as an "energy" drink is a mystery to me. I guess all they want to do is to try and hook more people on the taste of the stuff at great profit for the company.
free Lucosade on
                          Waterloo station today
At just before 7am they were only just beginning to set things up.
free Lucosade on Waterloo station
I'm not sure if these lot were station staff, free loaders, or from Lucosade.
free Lucosade on Waterloo station
One happy man walking away with his free bottle in hand.

 I think it is going to feel good going home from work today...or maybe it will seem like hard work, but hopefully it will feel good to actually get home. At the moment it feels like it would be good to ignore dinner and go straight to bed as soon as I get home. Maybe I will have a snooze before doing anything else - which might, or might not include eating dinner. I doubt I'll be able to resist having dinner, but somehow it feels like it might be a good thing if I did.
Sunday 16th August 2015
10:59 BST

  We were almost back in summer yesterday ! It was dry all day, and it was usually sunny. I'm not sure how warm it got. Maybe the top temperature was only 22 or 23° C, but it felt pleasant enough, and lower humidity made for a less sticky day. During the evening it cooled down a fair way, but it was still something like 14° C at sunrise. It is now 20° C, and I now feel a bit more comfortable than I did earlier. At the moment the sun is shining, and with luck there will be a lot more sunshine today - although the rather stale weather forecast is less optimistic than that. If the forecast is to be believed we will have a sunny morning tomorrow, but the afternoon is going to be light grey, or worse. Of course when the latest forecast is issued, tomorrow morning, all that may be completely different.

 After my productive morning I did rather less in the afternoon. I was going to go to Priory Live in Orpington, but I decided that it would be better to go and see Chain play at The British Oak pub in Blackheath last night. I'm not sure that even back in the past when I was far fitter and livelier, I could have done both on the same day. So I abandoned going to Priory Live in the afternoon, and went to Aldi instead. I didn't buy that much food in there, but I did buy many litres of liquid (if you count a bottle of olive oil as well). It is possible that I lugged back 10 litres of assorted liquids - no wonder my bags were so heavy ! It was doing stuff like that, that stopped my chest healing properly after my operation almost 2 years ago now. It feels like I might have added a bit more damage yesterday.

 It seemed surprisingly easy to get myself out of the house to see Chain last night. It entails a 6 or 7 minute walk to the bus stop (maybe only 5 minutes, but I've never actually timed it), and then a 9 minute wait for a bus (that felt longer). 20 - 25 minutes later the bus arrives at The Royal Standard in Blackheath, and from there it is a good 7 or 8 minutes walk to The British Oak pub. It was always a bit of a bothersome walk when I was a lot fitter, and absolutely murderous when I was suffering from angina. The main reason is that it is uphill - even though it doesn't look like it, but it most definitely looks downhill when going home again - and is a far easier walk in that direction. The road crosses over the (urban) motorway heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel, and there is a good view from there.
view towards East
                          London from the Old Dover Rd as it crosses the
                          approach to The Blackwall Tunnel
 I took this picture with my mobile phone camera, and it came out surprisingly well - which is more than you can say about the pictures I took with my DSLR camera in the pub. Maybe on one previous occasion there was a lighting rig that Chain used, but apart from then (if indeed it ever happened) I have always had to use flash when taking pictures in there. The dark wooden panelling just seems to suck all the light out of the picture, and it's not helped by much of the lighting being turned off ! I think all the pictures I took using my new DSLR camera, without using the flash, were noisy to some extent, and many had such long exposure times that they were hopelessly blurred. Here's a few of the better ones.
a band discussion
                          during, or just after the sound check
This picture was taken either during, or just after the sound check. The more significant thing about it is that the lights were still on, and the picture is sharp-ish and usable.
Jo playing in the gloom
Chain do have some lights, but having them at floor level, at the side of the stage area, and almost slightly behind Jo is not the best placing for them.
Dave Etheridge on drums, Steve on
                          bass, and Chris Mayer on lead guitar
You can tell by the grain that I really had to force this picture of Dave, Steve and Chris.
Jo watching the boys playing
As tradition dictates, while the boys play the song Crossroads, Jo comes out to watch them from among the audience. There is more light toward the bar, but it is still dim enough to make the garden look quite bright despite being well after sunset.
Chain as a three piece playing
It's funny how most people preferred to stay nearer the bar where there was more light, or maybe they just to prefer to keep back from the PA - not that it was very loud last night.

  I only stayed for the first set last night. I didn't feel particularly tired, and could have stayed later, but I felt I didn't want to push it too far. Walking downhill, even if it is only a very gentle slope, was far easier than when going there, and the cooler night air meant that I was drier, and less sticky, when I got to the bus stop than I was inside the pub. Unfortunately I just missed a bus. The buses are every 15 minutes so it wouldn't be too terrible a wait, but there was an alternative bus that I had never tried before, and that was only a 7 minute wait. So I got the 202 instead of the 54.

 I've always thought that the 202 takes a slightly longer route, but there may not be much in it, and last night the river was not hanging around. I reckon the 54 might still have dropped me off at the end of my road a few minutes earlier, but in the grand scheme of things it made little difference. Once I had walked from the bus stop to home I put the peri-peri chicken I had bought the previous night, into the microwave, and heated it up while I got changed.

 It was nice munching on that chicken, but ultimately it left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. I could have found more to eat, but somehow I resisted the temptation, and went to bed. Despite leaving the gig early, it was still midnight when I got to bed, and it might only have been a few minutes after midnight when I fell asleep. As far as I know I slept solidly for about 5 hours. That must be almost a record these days ! I did get up for quite a while at 5am, and I didn't seem to feel to bad. Eventually I went back to bed and slept for an unknown length of time. When I next woke up I felt lousy - and I don't feel too wonderful even now.

 Various bits of me hurt - although not usually at the same time. For some unknown reason both my knees were hurting while I was in bed. A little later it was the turn of my left elbow to hurt. I've had an intermittent headache of the very mild, but still annoying variety. The two semi-numb fingers on my left hand felt unpleasantly tingly for a while. (I used to think that was a good sign that something good was happening to the damaged nerves, but nothing ever changed - at least not after some initial healing in the first couple of months after I came out of hospital). If I had the time or inclination I could probably get a doctor or surgeon to cure the numb fingers problem, and it is possible that a doctor, or surgeon, or vet, could go some way towards reducing the crunchiness of my chest. My chest is particularly crunchy and sore this morning - although sometime in the last 20 minutes it seems to have settled down. I hadn't noticed before but it feels fairly OK as I write this.

 There are probably many things I could do today, but at the moment I can only foresee doing to of them. The first is to try and learn some grammar, or spelling. Why do I keep finding that I have written me instead of my, or vice-versa ? It must be the result of some sort of brain damage ! The other thing I am going to do is to scan some old photos. Yesterday afternoon I set up the scanner next to my PC, and gave it a quick test on a very old photo....
school friends
                              from primary school circa 1965
 I think this picture was taken in spring 1965. It is of three of my primary school friends while we were on a school journey to Holland and Belgium. I think this picture was probably taken in our hotel while we were in Holland. I think I almost know their names. On the left is Philip Church. The boy in the middle was called Jeremy as far as I can recall, but I can't think what his surname was. On the right was Bobby Crocker. The photo was taken on a Koday Brownie 44A camera - a fixed focus, and fixed exposure time camera. It is a shame I never understood those terms then or I might have taken some better pictures. It is amazing this one came out as well as it did with just indoor lighting - although I have electronically improved it a bit after scanning it.
Saturday 15th August 2015
11:05 BST

  The details are now hazy because nothing extreme happened, but as far as I can recall, The weather on Thursday was rather better than expected...and as I type that the most important bit comes back into focus. I was expecting to go home from work in pouring rain, but it was actually dry and sunny, although there certainly was some heavy rain later in the evening ! Yesterday's weather was not terrible, and maybe even not bad, but it wasn't all good. There was probably more sunshine than I expected, but there were also some significant showers during the day, and once again, some heavy rain in the evening. Both Thursday night and last night were rather humid - at least that is how it seemed to me. It took little effort (combined with some hot food, chilli sauce, and maybe some booze) to raise a lot of sweat ! This morning it is cool, just 18° C, and apparently it is only going to get a few degrees warmer, but today the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. It also seems to be a lot less humid. The weather forecast doesn't actually agree with the idea of blue sky, and only begrudgingly admits to some sunny spells this morning. It says that the afternoon will be lightly overcast, and it will stay that way until dawn, through tomorrow morning, until lunchtime when there may be a few sunny spells for a couple of hours...then it's back to greyness again until the end of time - possibly !

 I felt pretty lousy at work on Thursday. So I didn't go for the traditional after work drink, and of course I didn't go to the open mic night later in the evening. I think getting my shirt wet, and chilling my chest in the morning did nothing good to my chest, and it was creaking worse than ever during the day. On top of that I felt really tired - not sleepy tired, but a deep fatigue. I think I can attribute most of it to the weather. Partly from not sleeping properly when the evening starts off too warm, and the mornings too cold, but also just the typical extra aches and pains that damp weather can set off in any damaged joints, muscles, and other superstructure of the body.

 On Thursday night I decided that kill or cure was the only option. So I hand washed some shirts and underwear. The effort of doing that usually straighten out my aching chest if it is, as I assumed, the superstructure/subframe of my chest, and not my heart giving out. Had it been the latter I would probably be dead now. So it is quite an accurate test ! It did sort out some of the aches and pains, and as a result I may have slept better - once I managed to dry out ! All that effort generated a severe sweat in the humid air.

 I had booked yesterday off work because it looked as if it might be a nice day. Well that was what the forecast was saying a week earlier, but the weather has been so unsettled that the weather forecast was changing three times a day in a failed effort to make it look more accurate. In reality it turned out better than how it was forecast 12 hours earlier, but by then I had resigned myself to not doing much, and on Thursday night I didn't think I would feel up to doing much. However, by coincidence, Aleemah was also off work yesterday, and with today looking better for outdoor activities, she came over yesterday as if it were a Saturday.

 It was the usual meet her at the station, and then go to the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast followed by watching a DVD together here. Yesterday's DVD was from the box set of "The Omen" movies. Yesterday we watched The Omen III, and it was just as bland as the previous "episodes". Aleemah went home around 3pm, if I recall correctly, and after she left I decided to lay down and do some quiet reading for a while. It didn't take long before I was fast asleep. I have no idea how long I slept for. It might have been as little as 10 minutes, or it may have been for well over an hour. I really lost track of time yesterday afternoon. What I do know is that I felt a lot better when I woke up - although not so good that I fancied going out in the rain to see Chain playing in Greenwich. The last time they played there it was raining, and it was quite uncomfortable going there (although it was dry on the way home).

 So I decided to stay in and amuse myself. One way of amusing myself was with some food. I had eaten slightly sparingly for much of the day, and so I decided to reward myself, if "reward" is not too bastardised in it's usage here, and order a takeaway. Some peri-peri chicken seemed to be a good idea, but to meet the minimum charge of £12 for delivery, I had to pad out the order with other stuff. What I actually had for dinner last night was some chicken wings, some potato wedges (but not all them because they were not very nice), and a chicken burger with spicy sauce. The peri-peri chicken is now safe in the fridge ready to be heated up later today for my dinner.

 I'm not sure how well I slept last night. It seemed to be reasonable at first, although I got up far too early. It was actually about 4.30am - which is pretty stupid considering I didn't get to sleep until gone 10pm. I didn't feel any worse than I do most mornings these days - and that is pretty bad. So I started to read the technology news from The Register - the website that helps me waste hours at work ! After reading for well over an hour I decided that I was still very tired, and that I ought to go back to bed. Having got back in bed I didn't think I would get back to sleep - once again a very inaccurate appraisal of the situation. The next thing I knew was that several hours had passed by, and I was feeling a lot more refreshed.

 I don't know if it was in my first period of sleep, or that later second period of sleep, but I had some wonderful dreams - wonderful in as much as my imagination was really working overtime to come up with such scenarios. Unfortunately I can't seem to remember anything but a snatch of one dream. In this dream I was back working for British Telecom (pre-privatisation), and I was at one of the training centres - although this one was purely imaginary.  It seemed to have several areas guarded by electronic alarms that students were not permitted to enter. One such area was a hospital that was attached to the place, and someone had to see me through the detector so I could visit someone. Once through the detector I was left on my own to find the hospital. When I did it was huge. All the beds were lined up in aisles inside a place as big as an aircraft hangar. I don't know where the figure came from, but I knew there were 500 beds in there, and most were occupied. I woke up trying to figure out how I would ever find the person I was looking for - which was made more difficult because by then I had forgotten who I was looking for !

 I felt far more refreshed when I woke up the second time, although I still needed to sit down for 20 - 30 minutes to acclimatise myself to the real world. It could have been the extra sleep plus the rest, with even more sleep, that I had yesterday, but I think the change in the weather is just as much the reason why I feel almost good today. I certainly felt good enough to wash two semi big bath towels, a smaller hand towel, two even smaller dishcloths, and an even smaller face flannel.

 They are now all hanging on the line, and hopefully drying in the continuing sunshine. After I hung them on the line I didn't stop to rest. I next did a small backlog of washing up, but I didn't stop there either. I then spent another 15 minutes selecting old paperwork (leaflets and railway timetables and stuff) to dump in the wheelie bin. I guess I should have put them in the recycling bin, but it's too late for that now, although I might do that with some other paperwork.

 That brings me up to date, and now I have to decide what to do next. The simple answer is easy - take a shower and get dressed for the outdoor world ! The more complex question is where should I go ? I would like to go to Orpington to take some pictures at the Priory Live gig in Priory Park, and I would also like to go to Aldi. Finally I would like to go to see Chain playing in The British Oak pub on the far side of Blackheath - although that is not until almost 9pm. I wonder if I have the energy for all three. I guess the least important might be shopping in Aldi. I have the peri-peri chicken for dinner, and I have lots of tinned stuff as well as salad in the fridge. All I would really like soon is a couple of bottle of Diet Coke, and I can get that from the corner shop. I guess I'll be going to Orpington in an hour or two then.
Thursday 13th August 2015
07:45 BST

  Contrary to how the weather was forecast for yesterday, there were a few, albeit very brief, sunny spells, and even when the sun wasn't out, which admittedly was most of the time, it was usually brighter than I expected. It also seemed to be 2° than the forecast allowed for. My thermometer was saying 22° C when I got home from work. It didn't cool down much overnight. It was a rather humid 18° C when I walked to the station. I wore my raincoat as I walked to the station - not because it was raining, but because it was supposed to rain. Even with the coat not done up it felt horribly sticky under it, and once I was on the train I took it off. Eventually it did rain as I walked from Earlsfield station to work, but it was so light it didn't seem worthwhile putting my raincoat on. I think it would have been wetter (from sweat) inside it than out !

 The forecast also mentioned the idea that the sun might peep through the clouds for a while, but it hasn't happened yet, and we have passed the deadline for it. The rest of today will probably be as grey as it is now, but it is almost certain that at some time, and maybe many times, there will be torrential rain. There is talk that today and tomorrow will be so wet that it will be the equivalent of the entire average rainfall for the whole of August falling in just two days. Although when you think about it that may not be too bad - August is supposed to be a hot dry month with just one thunderstorm allowed after dark on a week day ! The strength and timing of the rain will determine what I do today, and tomorrow when I have a day off work !

 I achieved all my objectives after work yesterday. I bought some shopping in Tesco on the way home, and I trimmed my beard and washed my hair in the evening. I didn't buy that much in Tesco, but the bill was very high. That could be something to do with the bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky I bought.....and the bottle of extra strength Jim Beam that grabbed my attention. I also bought a lot of reduced price sandwiches, and a couple of bowls of ready made salad. The final ingredient(s) were the result of one of those brainwaves (or brainstorms) that I get now and then. Out of the blue came this sudden idea that I wanted a steak (possibly plus kidney) pie.

 At first I picked up some "chip shop style" steak pies, but then decided that I would prefer something slightly more substantial. I noticed that they had a steak, and a steak and ale pie in the same range as the goats cheese and sweet potato pie that I ended up cremating in the microwave over a few weeks back. The steak pies also said that they were not suitable for microwave cooking, but on the other hand they seemed to suggest that they were fully cooked, and just needed warming through, and a little more colour added to the top of the pastry. I was far more careful this time, but I did "cook" them in my microwave oven, and while it wasn't all that pastry friendly, they were still very nice, and filled the hole in my soul (or whatever it was my brain was telling me needed filling).

 One other objective I had last night was to have another go at getting an early night. Once again my bedroom was hovering between hot and cold, and was rather stuffy. I should have left the window open, but there was this idea that there could have been a storm last night, maybe even a thunder storm, and I didn't fancy that waking me up. So I got on my bed, and pulled the duvet cover (without the duvet in it) close, but not covering much of my body, and tried to fall asleep. It was also one of those nights where the bed felt uncomfortable, although I think it was my body that had the creases and wrinkles ! If my memory is correct it was also one of those nights where you fall asleep fairly quickly, but far from instantly, while thinking that you will never get to sleep ! Apart from waking up 45 minutes before I needed to, and not getting back to sleep, I probably slept quite well - although I am sure there must be some sort of mythical sleep that is far, far better if only I knew how to do it !

 This morning I feel good and bad. I thought my chest felt a bit crunchy when I was getting up, but it doesn't seem to have given me any trouble since. My stamina seems very variable this morning. It seemed unusually hard work walk to the station this morning, and I was breathing quite hard by the time I had found my place on the platform to wait for my train. The next bit of hard work is the walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station. The first bit is up the ramp, and it is all done at a rush - commuter style. Going up the ramp seemed unusually easy, and I was overtaking quite a few people. On the more level parts I was satisfied to keep up with the faster commuters. I arrived at the mainline station breathing hard once again, but it didn't feel anything like the strain of the first bit of walking. The last leg of the journey, the walk from Earlsfield station to work, was done in light rain, and so I may have done that a little faster than usual, or I may not have bothered. I've found that no matter how fast, or how slow I walk, it makes very little difference to the time it takes to walk - maybe just plus or minus 20 seconds - and who cares about 20 seconds ?

 It's Thursday, and that means it's drinking night ! The venue for tonight is The Bricklayers Arms in Beckenham, and on a bright dry day it is almost a pleasure to stay on the train past Catford Bridge to Clock House station, and then walk down the hill to the pub. It's not a long walk - perhaps 12 - 15 minutes - but it would be most unpleasant in a thunderstorm, and there is likely to be a thunderstorm at some time, in some place anytime from mid afternoon to late evening. I think I'll play it by ear as to whether I go or not. With tomorrow booked off work, I had originally thought that maybe I would stay out late, and maybe even wander up the hill to The Coach And Horse pub where there is a very friendly open mic night on Thursdays. Now I am unsure if I will even get as far as Beckenham. Probably not if it is pouring with rain when I leave work, but I also have to take into account what it might be like when it is time to go home from Beckenham. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems that I will be having an early, and sober night !
Wednesday 12th August 2015
07:46 BST

  Yesterday turned out better than expected. The cloud thinned out quite a lot in the afternoon, and I seem to recall that the sun managed to peep through a couple of small cracks once or twice. While the thin, and occasionally slightly broken cloud made for a fairly bright afternoon, it didn't stop it raining from about 6pm, and possibly all through the night. It was certainly raining up to half an hour before I walked to the station. It's stopped for now, but it still looks rather grim.
The weather for
                          Wednesday 12th august 2015
  I showed this picture yesterday. It was a screenshot of the weather forecast for today as predicted 24 hours ago by the great super computer that the weather forecasters use to try and predict what they would see if the open the curtains, and look out the window. It is the same great hyper mega computer used to predict the effects of global warming years into the future. It is so good at looking into the future that they could see that tomorrow would be quite different to how they thought it would be yesterday. This morning the forecast for today looks like this...
The updated weather
                          forecast for today, Weds 12th Aug 2015
 The latest theory is that there should be sun and showers as I came to work - there wasn't ! The rest of the day is going to be grey and rather cool until the chance of a quick flash of sunshine at 8pm just before the sun sets. From what I can see out of my office window I would have to say that the forecast, made just a few hours ago, is spot on for this hour. Quite how they forgot to notice that the sun didn't stand a cats chance of hell of shining through the clouds at the time they were making the forecast is anyone's guess. I think they might have got the temperature about right for this morning, but with luck the forecast will be very wrong this afternoon. A few more degrees, and a bit of sunshine when I am going home from work would be very nice. It would be nice if the latest forecast for Friday, when I am taking a day off work, turns out to be very wrong. Heavy rain, and maybe even flash flooding, is the latest forecast, and that is not good for any outdoor activities !

 I didn't feel terribly good at work yesterday, and I felt decidedly average when I got home. I wasn't in any great discomfort at work, but I was not enjoying what should have been fairly relaxing work. Some of it may have been tiredness, and some of it may have been the unsettled weather. Oh well, it can only get worse. When I git home I decided that I ought to eat differently to usual. That included no more beetroot crisps - not that they are usual. In fact they were a one off, although I could be tempted to get another packet if I see any left in Aldi the next time I am in there. Incidently, it took well over 12 hours, maybe even eighteen, to flush the red/purple beetroot colour through my kidneys. That colour must really concentrate when they fry the beetroot crisps !

 Last night's dinner was steak - steak that had been in the bottom of my fridge for several weeks - with baked beans and a bit of left over cheese. I took a chance and cooked the steak in the microwave, and unfortunately I slightly overcooked it. It was still nice, and still quite tender, but it was a little dry. I should have used the electric grill to give even more flavour, but I can confirm that the microwave does work if you can live without the charred bits (although charred is not the word I am looking for - it sounds far too harsh). I also tried the Polish "roast" sausages I bought last week. I cooked them in the microwave too, and they came out fine, but I think they were actually cooked and ready to eat when I bought them. So, in effect,  I only reheated them.

 I intended to get to bed early last night, and in a way I did go to bed early. The only flaw in this idea is that I didn't put the book I was reading down until it was actually a bit late - and even then I couldn't get to sleep straight away. It was warm in my room when I went to bed, but it felt like it cooled down a lot in the night (I left my bedroom window open all night). It probably really mucked my sleep up. I don't think I woke up that many times, but I seem to recall having loads of dreams even if I can't remember what they were about now...

 Actually I can remember a few snips of dreams. One was about a caramel coloured pony, or horse, in a huge barn that was laid out like an electro-mechanical telephone exchange. Another dream was about a small rocket that I had built. It turned out to have a major flaw in it's design. To build up a good pressure in the nozzle it had a plate bolted over the end of it. Once the propellant was alight, and burning OK, the plate had to be removed, but of course there was no way of doing that without the propellant gases shooting out sideways as the plate was removed - and that would have burnt my hands as well as wasting propellant. I recall a fragment of one more dream. It concerned my toilet being blocked. There was nothing at all in the bowl except pure water, and a small bolt, and it was the small bolt that was (somehow !) blocking the water from flushing away....or something like that. It's all very hazy now.

 Sleeping poorly, with lots of tossing and turning (probably) is not good for my chest, and I think the cool damp weather is just making things worse. It felt a bit creaky as soon as I had woken up enough to be aware of it, and when I sat down on the toilet I could feel like a ligament was stretched tight between my left nipple and my neck. After a few days, or more, of it not really doing much, this morning it is back to all the creeks, crunches, grinds and popping that feel, more than sound coming from my chest. As I pulled up my shoelaces there were several loud feeling pops from in my chest. It felt a bit sore while I was on the train, and I wished that I had taken a couple of ibuprofen soon after I got up. It seems to have settled down a lot since then, but it is still a bit sore. I may still take a couple of Ibuprofen if it it plays up again.

 The rest of me is working well enough this morning, although I still wonder where all my breath went since I stopped smoking. As I walked toward my train at Waterloo station it did feel like my legs were working well enough that I could almost easily run for a bit if I could have found the breath to sustain it. I am tempted to think my lack of breath is because I weigh a lot more than I did when I was smoking, and while that is true for the last few weeks (maybe months) prior to going into hospital almost 2 years ago now, it may not be true for earlier than that. Yesterday, and the day before, I was wearing a pair of stretch jeans that were 2 inches bigger than what was always my usual size a few years back. The only trouble with them is that they don't fit - they are too loose ! This morning I am wearing a pair of (I estimate) three year old jeans, and while I will confess they are a slightly snug fit, they do fit, and are comfortable to wear. I find it all rather surprising. Maybe I have lost a bit of weight over the last few months. That was always the intention, but my method was so haphazard that it was probably two steps backward for every three steps forward. I know I can do far better, and maybe getting back into these old jeans could spur me on to try harder to get into some other old jeans and trousers, but who am I kidding.....

 There are a couple of things I ought to do tonight, and one thing that I will do. I think it is probable that I'll pop into Tesco on the way home. If I can raise the enthusiasm I ought to give my beard a severe trimming, and wash my hair. I was going to wash it this morning but at the time it seemed I would be walking to the station in the rain, and I didn't fancy doing that with wet hair......under the hood of my rain coat. 
Tuesday 11th August 2015
08:01 BST

  The BBC's weather webpage was updated several times yesterday to try and reflect what was happening in the real world, and every guess they made was wrong ! At least it was wrong for Catford, although it might have been right elsewhere in London ! All variations of the forecast featured rain - sometimes just showers, but even thunderstorms were hinted at. The reality was that there was some light rain just before midday. That lasted for no more than 10 minutes, and while I waited for my train at Waterloo East station, on my way home from work, there was the very finest sprinkle of rain that lasted all of 30 seconds. Before that, as I walked from work to the station, there was some sunshine. That definitely wasn't in the forecast. Nor was the pleasant sunny evening ! Maybe it is the way I interpret the forecast that is wrong.
The weather for
                          Wednesday 12th august 2015
 The picture above is a screenshot of part of the BBC's online weather forecast for tomorrow. At the top there is a blazing sun icon for Wednesday, but when the day is broken down into hours the blazing sun never appears. Only little bits of sunshine peeping out around clouds. If you could switch to the forecast for today you would see that the day actually started 2° C higher than the forecast - 17° C, and not just 15° C. The cloud at the moment is supposed to be light, but it is actually rather heavy, and the chances of a few rays of sunshine breaking through mid morning, as suggested by the forecast, seem very poor. The rest of today is forecast to be dull, and at just 21° C maximum, it will almost be rather cool.

 Not having to dodge falling rain, and with part of my journey home being done in sunshine, albeit a small part, although it was almost sunny when I walked from the station to home, left me in a good mood...sort of. Not so good that I could no longer resist eating a packet of beetroot crisps that I bought from Aldi when I went there last Saturday. It is well know that beetroot contains a strong purple-red dye, but what is probably less well known is that it survives frying, and seems to be concentrated by it !
red tongue
 I realise it is not a pretty sight, but this is what eating beetroot crisps did to my tongue. I won't show you what it did to my wee last night, nor what my poo was like this morning ! It is rather strange, but I am sure I once read that depending on your genetic make up you would either excrete that red dye by wee or by poo, but not both. It seems I have proved that wrong, unless that fact is only correct for non fried beetroot.

 One of the problems with this poor excuse for a Summer (or is it just a typical English summer ?) is the high humidity. The problem with high humidity is that it makes people sweat - in my case, in my curent state of health, rather a lot. This is most evident by the stench some people give off, particularly in enclosed spaces like buses and trains. I can only hope that my theory that if other people stink then I probably don't is correct - based on the idea that the nose loses sensitivity to a stink when exposed to it for too long.

 Even if I don't stink then I surely look bedraggled, and no more so than when I went to bed last night. It may have been another effect of those beetroot crisps, because I didn't eat anything else that is contentious, but I was absolutely dripping last night ! It made for another late night getting to sleep, but curiously, once asleep, I seemed to sleep unusually well again. I have definitely lost out on several hours of sleep in the last couple of days, and I think it is starting to catch up on me. Maybe it will be less humid tonight, and I'll feel comfortable enough to get to sleep nice and early...maybe.

 This morning, apart from the agony of learning to be a human being again, and getting all the creases out of dozens of muscles, which took the best part of an hour, I felt tolerably well. In another hour, plus a few minutes of walking from Earlsfield station, I started to feel whatever that thing is that is slightly less than good - maybe normal - sort of ! This was probably helped by, once again, wearing a pair of comfortable uncomfortable shoes. Like yesterday, but in black instead of white, I am wearing a pair of dirt cheap chemically smelly lace up plimsolls. They have thin hard soles, and while that sounds as if it is bad, it actually suits me quite well. No cushioning means my feet slap the pavement quite hard, and that can be slightly uncomfortable unless I walk carefully, but no cushioning also means there is nothing to ruck up under my feet. Damaged insoles are one of the prime reasons for my shoes becoming prematurely uncomfortable.

 I'm not sure if, prior to yesterday, I had ever dared to wear these cheap and cheerful plimsolls to work, but I think I am tempted to wear then to work more often - or at least I would do if it were not for the fact that they are wearing incredibly fast. I reckon I could possibly wear through the sole by the end of the week if I wore the same pair every day of that week. To spread the load I ordered two more pair yesterday. They are not identical in as much as I have ordered slip on instead of lace up, but I think that everything else about them should be the same.

 I actually ordered them while perusing on Amazon's website looking for a zoom lens for my new DSLR camera. It is possible I have come up with a bargain - but maybe not. The lens I chose was quite cheap, a lot cheaper than I was expecting to pay. One reason for it being cheap was that it was old stock, and Amazon informed me that there was "a new version of this item". The newer version was almost 4 times the price. So I stuck with my first choice. Whether that choice was a good one or not remains to be seen. The lens has several semi-bad reviews. It's worst sin is that when using a lot of zoom the periphery of the picture goes out of focus slightly. For train spotting that might not be good, but for close ups of singers and musicians faces it might actually be a good ides. In fact it could be a good idea for any photo where where there is a central subject that could be a flower or a face, or even a bird, but not such a good idea for when the subject fills the whole frame - like a locomotive or car. Oh well, time will tell. I hope it will arrive here at work before Friday (when I am off work), and I'll be able to try it out at Priory Live - which I hope to go to on Saturday if it is not raining (or not raining too much).

 I have a busy day at work, and I have yet to raise the enthusiasm to be be busy. Oh well.... Tonight I have no great plans. I might get around to setting up the scanner to scan some old photographs, or I might do absolutely bugger all ! Hopefully I won't be dripping with sweat, and I'll be able to get to sleep at a decent time. Then in the morning it is back to work, and so we go round the cycle one more time, and then another, but on Thursday night I can break the cycle with booze and maybe music too, because I don't have to get up for work on Friday morning. Now that's something to look forward to - no matter what the weather is !
Monday 10th August 2015
08:13 BST

  The best was to describe yesterday was to say it was like a summers day in August - which, of course, it was ! There was gallons of bright summer sunshine, and a gin clear blue sky - most of the time. It did start to get a bit cloudy as evening approached. There was a slight difference of opinion between my two outdoors thermometers, but the consensus of opinion is that at one point the temperature probably exceeded 27° C, and it may well have hit 28° C. It was a warm, and rather sticky night. This morning it was still 18 or 19° C, but since sunrise there has only been one, almost flicker of a ray of sunshine because it is very cloudy, and will probably remain so all day. There is even rain expected just after midday. Some of it could be heavy, but if the timing of the forecast is right, it will be dry again when I leave work....Of course that was the forecast, but in the last hour it has changed. It will now rain from about 1pm until gone 5pm, and I will probably get wet going home. Never mind - the forecast also admits that there could be a few rays of sunshine as well as rain at 5pm !  The temperature may reach 23° C if we are lucky.

 Yesterday was a most successful day.  By midday, the double duvet cover I had washed in the morning was dry (except for one very slightly damp corner). So I took that in, and let that last corner dry with it hung over the banister rail. I then washed another double duvet cover, and hung that on the line to dry. I don't know where I got the energy from to wash two double duvets, plus some miscellaneous laundry, and go for a 2 mile (or maybe slightly more) walk in the park,  but I found it from somewhere, and it didn't feel too taxing at all (provided I had a nice rest between tasks). Actually I did more ! I also filled a dustbin liner with more old paperwork and other assorted crap from the back room, and tossed it in the wheelie bin. I haven't had such a productive day in years - and it felt rather good.

 Maybe it felt a little too good, or maybe it was the sticky, sweaty heat last night, but my body refused to relax and go to sleep when I wanted it too. I think I lay there tossing and turning, while gently dripping, until 11pm, or maybe even later than that. It wasn't ideal with work in the morning, but once I got to sleep, I slept passably well, and I don't feel too sleepy here at work - yet ! I could list quite a few things that hurt, or ache, or grumble, but somehow I feel sort of good this morning. Quite a lot of my body, although mostly the unimportant bits, seems to be working quite well this morning. Even my feet feel relatively comfortable despite wearing some really cheap and smelly Chinese plimsoll type shoes. (When I say smelly I don't meant sweaty feet smelly, but a sort of chemical/adhesive smell that hovers between pleasant and unpleasant).

 Considering it is going to be a grey, and later on, a wet day, I will probably be feeling extra miserable when I get home, and the lack of sunshine will sap my strength, so I am thinking that I will go into an instant vegative state when I get home. That might be a shame because there is one thing I would like to make a start on sometime soon. During my clearing up I uncovered a packet of assorted photos that I took years ago on my old Practika camera, and I think some of them are worth scanning to reproduce electronically.

 One annoying thing about my old photos is that I too often used too much zoom. In the worst instances it meant that some of the subject was clipped, but in most case it means there is very little space to clip and centre the picture. More advanced photographers could print their own pictures, and in doing so they could choose an area of picture to enlarge and centre when processing the pictures in a dark room. I didn't have that facility, but now photography is all digital I can do that. So I have learned not to use too much zoom - usually ! However, I'll just have to play it by ear when scanning, and editing those paper photographs. Talking of photographs.....
Waterloo station
                          concourse at 7am Monday 10th Aug 2015
Ever fizzing, gut bloating, tooth rotting, pancreas busting......No, sorry that was Pepsi's slogan.
tweet your Cocal Cola message and win
                          a t-shirt
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Coca Cola
All these pictures make me want to rush home for a delicious glass of ice cold Aldi own brand cola !
Sunday 9th August 2015
11:30 BST

  It stayed dry, and it was warm yesterday. A little more sunshine would have made it a better day, but it was a pretty good day by recent standards. It's difficult to know if today is going to continue being good, but it is currently very good. I think there is hardly a cloud in the sky, and it is already 21° C. If the sun stays out it could push the temperature to above warm, perhaps 26° C, by late afternoon. Of course the miserable old BBC website says that it will get cloudy in an hour or two, and although it will still be mostly bright, it will only bet 24° C maximum. Oh well, that is still better than the forecast for tomorrow. That says it will be a cloudy day with a shower, maybe even a heavy shower at 1pm !

 Yesterday was a good day - more or less. I felt very satisfied to do all the laundry in the morning, but felt less satisfied when I had to tell Aleemah that trains were only running from Charing Cross, and not from London Bridge station yesterday. Aleemah had to get the bus from London Bridge instead of the train. That didn't seem to bother her, but it would have infuriated me ! With the extra time I had I went out an bought a big bag of stuff from the SAM 99p shop (which is different to the ordinary 99p shop - but not much different !). Much of the big bag was taken up by two boxes of man sized tissues. Everything else was small.

 The other useful outcome of Aleemah getting the bus was that it is easier to meet her in the pub than elsewhere, and getting there a bit early allowed me to have an extra half pint of beer.
 These are the beers I tried yesterday - a half pint each of; Bermondsey Best, Mosaic Pale Ale, and Blond Witch. I'm not sure which was best - they were all rather nice. The other good thing is that Aleemah mixed up which DVD she was supposed to be bringing. She thought that she had brought her "The Omen" box set, and that we would be watching The Omen III. It's not so terrible that it is any more than a minor chore to watch "The Omen" movies, but it's not really my thing. What Aleemah did bring was a little better, but not much. It was a box set of Hammer films. I think these ones were meant for TV release rather than cinema. The film we watch was called something like "Keeper Of The Abyss". It was set in, and filmed in the 1970s, and that provided some background interest, but it wasn't terribly exciting.

 Aleemah went home a little earlier than usual. I wanted to get a few things done before relaxing prior to going out in the evening. So I had a small bite to eat, and then I laid on my bad to read a few pages from the book  am reading. I then promptly fell asleep, and it was almost 4pm before I woke up. I needed to stretch my legs, and decided that going to Aldi would serve the dual purpose of getting some shopping and stretching my legs. The only trouble was that it tired me a bit, and also what I bought, a cold ready cooked chicken, was so tempting that I ended up not going out.

 So I've missed another Chain gig, and I feel a bit guilty about it. On the other hand, I don't feel that I had a dull or boring evening despite the only highlight being munching on microwave reheated roast chicken ! It was a nice relaxing evening after a busy morning, and it set me up for a busy morning this morning. I can't recall anything bad about last night so I guess I must have slept well - and I even had a bit of a lie in !

 It wasn't until just gone 7am that I hand washed another duvet cover, and hung it on the line. I then washed a few more items and hung them up indoors to dry. I must have been really buzzing, or maybe just maniacal, because I then went out for a 2 mile walk around the park. Actually the latter was not complete madness. I had heard some ambiguous news that there might have been an event in the park that involved a live music stage yesterday, and I wanted to see if there was any evidence that it had happened yesterday, or if it was just someone showing some old photos. I did see a couple of "Exit" signs pinned to trees, and that suggests something happened recently, but there was no other evidence. Still, it was a good opportunity to take some photos.
old fashioned, and
                          rather nice telephone pole
This old telephone pole with nice pointy finial, and old insulators, is not in the park, but is on the way there.
rough sleeper
A rough sleeper in the park.
lovely blue sky
Lovely blue sky !
Compared to how it used to be when I was a boy, the River Ravensbourne that runs through the park, is incredibly clean, and the water often crystal clear.
this way to the British Rail stations
At the bottom of Westdown Road, at the south end of the park, is this relic from the past. A sign pointing to the British Rail stations - Catford Bridge and Catford stations - now owned (but not run by) Network Rail - successor to the madness that was Railtrack who took over from British Rail after it was stupidly privatised.

 It's now a nice hot Sunday afternoon, and possibly time to do some more work. The duvet cover on the washing line must be close to being dry, or certainly dry enough to finish airing indoors. That means that if I could find the energy, and I think I may be able to, I could wash another duvet cover, and get that out on the line to dry during the rest of the afternoon. If I do that, I will only have two unwashed duvet covers to wash (plus the one on my bed at the moment). I never thought I would ever get so many washed - I guess we have had a serious lack of sunny weekends this summer, because having to hang them on the line where they can drip as they please, has been the main hold up to washing duvet covers. Everything else can be wrung out enough to dry indoors. I think I will feel very smug and satisfied to get one more washed this weekend !
Saturday 8th August 2015
07:10 BST

 The trouble with yesterday was that the weather was not exciting enough to remember. It didn't help that I was indoors during the best part of the day. So what do I remember ? Well, it was dry, and bright, but I don't recall it being all that sunny. It was certainly warm, although probably only 23 or 24° C warm. The bad thing is that it was quite humid, and it made for a bit of a sticky journey home. Today was forecast to be bright and sunny, but there has been no sign of the sun since sunrise ! Oh bugger ! The forecast has changed since I checked it yesterday afternoon. The new forecast says that we will only have sunny spells now and then, and the first won't happen, if it happens, for a few hours yet. Nevertheless, the top temperature today is still forecast to feel warm at 24° C with a relative humidity of 44%. It is currently 17.5° C by my thermometer, and that is close enough to the forecast of 18° C to make no difference. The odd thing is that the forecast humidity is 86%. Now that sounds rather high to me, but it doesn't feel like it is high. Maybe I have this all wrong. If yesterday was like the forecast for today, with a humidity of 44%, then lower numbers seem to feel drier than high numbers...but that can't be right. Can it ?

 Hopefully the air is not carrying too much moisture in it because I want to add a lot more to it. It is still rather early in the morning, but to take advantage of the sunny weather today, which isn't going to happen now, or so it seems, I was up early washing a duvet cover - quite a heavy one ! It is now hanging on the line waiting to be baked dry in the sunshine that might not happen ! In some sort of demonstration of masochism, I have also washed three shirts, a t-shirt, and a mini table cloth. They are all drying on a clothes horse indoors.

 Going back to yesterday, and work, apart from seething from the edict about giving a whole two weeks, or more notice just to take off one miserable little day, was otherwise fairly satisfying for a change. I completed stage one of a little project designed to amuse me. If I could have been bothered, I could probably have completed it within a day, but I managed to string it out to nearly three days.

 So I left work feeling reasonably satisfied, and glad to be going home. It was a pretty bog-standard journey home with just one small variation to current conditions. The train from Waterloo East was slightly less busy than usual for some unknown reason. I had a block of 4 seats (2 facing 2) all to myself. That used to be common before the work at London Bridge started, but it is possibly the first time it has happened since then.

 I contemplated either getting some shopping from Tesco on the way home, or going out again to get some shopping from Aldi, but there was a third way that satisfied all immediate needs, and was quicker than both - The Turkish Express supermarket. I bought some Diet Coke, some pots of bean salad, a pair of Polish roast sausages, and a bottle of Fentimanns Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger. That orange drink was quite pleasant, but nothing to rave about, and it's sugar content means it can only be drunk after three days of complete starvation. I suspect it would be a bit nicer if it was less sweet and a bit sharper...but not too much ! I haven't tried the Polish (at least I think they are Polish) roast sausages yet, but I am guessing they will be rather tasty !

 I did very little of any consequence last night. I ripped a few more compilation CDs, and added the files to my "radio station on a stick" collection of music that I take to work on a USB memory stick (and also keep and use a local copy at home). That music collection, played on random, is now up to 126 hours long. Some tracks still repeat after a few hours, but it still sounds random enough to be enjoyable.

 Maybe it was just like any other night, or maybe it was the transition between week and weekend, or maybe it was because I didn't do anything to feel good about, or whatever, but last night was one of those nights when I felt restless, and I ended up eating more than I planned. I had it wasn't exactly a plan, but more of a hope that I might not eat too much last night. I had a nice salad for my dinner, but it was later, while trying to watch three TV programmes at the same time - two Star Treks and The Avengers - that I just got frustrated, and really all I wanted was a nice cigarette to relax with. Instead of a cigarette I had a couple of small bags of Hula Hoops - which are going to kill me quicker than a cigarette would !

 The other thing I did last night was to drink far more ice cold orange squash than I seemed to excrete through the night. I think I had three icy cold pints of squash, plus a pint of Diet Coke, and I assumed I would be up half the night peeing. Maybe I was dehydrated or something, but as far as you can estimate these things, I only peed a pint or two during the night (including when I got up this morning). I guess I must have sweated the rest away somehow - although I don't recall it being a sweaty night. I am certainly a bit sweaty now after doing my early morning hand laundry - particularly that big and heavy duvet cover !

 It is now high time I got myself ready to go out and meet Aleemah at the station in a couple of hours time, and I still need to tidy the living room up a bit before we come back here to watch (hopefully) the last "The Omen" movie sequel ! After Aleemah has gone home I need to do some intensive relaxation, or something like that, because I want to try and drag myself to a Chain gig at The Chatterton Arms in Bromley.
old bus in Garrat
                          Lane, Earlsfield
I snapped this bus before I realised that it was just a London tourist bus. It looked old, and indeed the "J" registration says it is 1991 vintage, and I wondered if it was in private preservation. I suppose it is in a way, but I'm not sure if carrying tourists around London to show them the "sights" really counts as "in preservation". It's just a tool, and will be worked until it breaks !
Friday 7th August 2015
08:55 BST

  It's hard to admit it, and assuming my memory is correct, but I think it was a nice day yesterday. It was warm and dry, and although more sunshine would have been better, there was just enough sunshine to make it look a bit like a summers day in August ought to look (and feel). I am unsure what the exact temperature was, but I would take a guess that it was approaching 25° C sometime in the late afternoon. During the night it cooled down to just 13° C, but it is forecast to be bright and sunny for most of today, and the temperature is expected to rise to 23° C this afternoon. Of course it was sunny earlier on, but now it seems rather cloudy. How well that fits with forecast is debatable, but I think I will optimistically assume that the sun will soon come out again, and that I will go home from work today in a blaze of sunshine. Tomorrow was going to be sunny all day, and with a top temperature of 25° C, but overnight the forecast has changed to add a lot more cloud, and with a top temperature several degrees less.

 Last night's Thursday night drink was first of all in The Jolly Farmers pub near Ladywell, but we didn't like it in there, and we went over the road to The Ravensbourne Arms. I had two pints in each pub - which was more than I intended to have, but two in each seemed to be a nice balance.  I had met Jodie at Ladywell station to guide her to the Jolly Farmers, and I walked her back there when we finished in The Ravensbourne Arms. I would normally walk back home from Ladywell, but with my 60+ Oyster Card it was free to get on the train with Jodie, and while she continued to Elmers End station, I got off at Catford Bridge and walked home from there - I estimate it is probably around half the distance of walking from Ladywell.

 It was nice to get home, and even nicer to take off the shoes I was wearing. They were not terribly uncomfortable......maybe something closer to quite a bit uncomfortable ! It was a bit weird in that they were mostly uncomfortable to parts of my feet that other shoes are not - even other uncomfortable shoes ! It was also nice to get home to have some dinner. For the third evening running it was cheese and onion rolls. I was rather more careful about the amount of onion and cheese I used, and I seem to have suffered no ill effects from them this time. It does make me wonder if my little bit of gut trouble on Wednesday was anything to do with the amount of onion I consumed (although it might have made matters worse).

 I guess four pints of beer left me drunk enough to really impair my self control because I gave in to some basic urges and had some ice cream out of the freezer. I had two little tubs of ice cream in there that I had been saving for some rainy day, or some day when I could justify a little extra sugar in my blood stream. I definitely should not have had them last night after four pints of beer, but I couldn't seem to stop myself.

 I don't know if it was purely the weather, or whether my raised blood sugar level, and raised blood alcohol level, had anything to do with it (probably), but last night was one of those infuriating nights when it was shivery not to be under the duvet, and sweaty if I was. So I ended up having quite a lousy sleep, with loads of weird dreams, as I attempted to sleep with some bits of me covered, and some bits uncovered. I think hugging the duvet like a drowning man clinging to a life saver, instead of throwing it off, or getting under it, was not the best way to sleep, and when my alarm woke me (which is a rarity) I felt rather rough. It seems to have set off my "floating rib syndrome" again.

  I barely noticed any problem with my chest yesterday, but so far this morning I have had several "events". While pulling up the laces on my left shoe my chest made quite a big CRACK type noise (felt more than heard). It was almost as if something had broken in there, and maybe it did ! I was hanging up a few t-shirts on a hanger at arms length, and at about head height, when I had quite a painful twinge near, or across my left breast. The pain peaked quite sharply for half a second, then dwindled away over the course of the next 5 or 10 seconds. The legacy of all that is that I have an area of very mild discomfort over part of my chest. You could hardly call it a pain, but it is sufficient to be slightly annoying.

 There has been other annoyances this morning. The first annoyance was, in the grand scheme of things, really rather minor except that it did got me money - maybe somewhere in the region of £1.40. To my utter amazement, the 06:33 train to Charing Cross (via Waterloo East, where I get off) was cancelled. It is usually extremely reliable, but not today !
The 06:33 to Charing
                          Cross has been cancelled !
 The second annoyance this morning is a big one. Battle has now commenced ! My manager wants to try and enforce the rule that we give two weeks notice of any leave we want. One minor battle has already been won. He thought it was four weeks notice quoted in the company handbook, but I proved that wasn't the case. I can understand there are times when long periods of notice may be a good idea, but only when it is a long period of time, say a whole week, being requested, or when someone's role in the company is so important that their absence could bring the company to it's knees.  These, and other silly rules in the company handbook she be regarded as guidelines and not laws, and discretion should be exercised in enforcing them. Well I want next Friday off work, and this time it has been granted, but next time I am expected to give a fortnights notice or it will not be granted. This means war ! Maybe it is the push I require to hand in my resignation.

 If you want to be an extra in a movie, or maybe even be picked to play a major role, you could get down to Waterloo station this morning, and get in the way of the camera crew....or something (well they do make films about moviemakers finding stars and starlets hanging out near film sets - at least I seem to recall some storyline like that).
You are being filmed
As the next picture shows, this sign is near ground level, right in the middle of the concourse. To read it you will actually have had to pass the point where the camera is !
filming notice and it's handler
I guess this chap in his hi vis jacket will get a mention somewhere in the interminable credits at the end of the movie that modern movies have. Could he be the "best boy" which always looks so perverted in movie credits. He's obviously not the "clapper loader" - another job description that sounds highly dubious. Maybe this guy is just "master of the filming notice".
film crew, or pots of people hanging
                          around, earning their pay doing nothing
Filming is often very boring work. I think I could 9 people in hi vis jackets, plus one person in civvies (maybe a bemused bystander, or an actress) hanging around doing nothing while the cameraman lines up his next shot. Maybe the man with his arm straight out is the "focus puller", and maybe the man the other side of the camera is the "clapper loader". All their names will probably end up in the 26 hours of credits at the end of every modern movie.
Thursday 6th August 2015
08:20 BST

  The weather was incredibly variable yesterday. It's hard to say it was good, bad or indifferent. Much of the day was overcast, but the sun did come out a few times. Sometimes the cloud was very dense and very dark, and sometimes it was almost milky white. There were a few splashes of rain during the day, and as far as I am aware they were all just light showers. At around 7pm I saw one brilliant flash of lightning, but the long delay until I heard the peal of thunder suggests it was several miles away. Maybe off towards (roughly) the south there may have been more thunder and lightning, but I didn't notice any more in Catford. By 9.20pm the clouds were breaking up a bit, but there was only a very monochrome sunset.
a monochrome sunset
 The other strange thing about yesterday was that I was not sure if it was hot or cold. During the afternoon I kept seeing 25 or even 26° C on my thermometer, but it didn't seem to feel particularly warm. I began to wonder if my thermometer was broken (or the battery in the external sensor needed changing), but as the evening started it started dropping, and by the time I went to bed it was showing 19° C - and it felt like 19° C !

 This morning there was almost a slit in the clouds on the eastern horizon that allowed through a bright sunny sunrise. Unfortunately it was a very red sunrise, and that indicates bad weather ahead. Sure enough, with half an hour the clouds had sealed over that gap, and now the sky is just one unbroken mass of grey clouds. The forecast says the clouds will actually become black at around 11pm, but only for one hour ! After that they just be light to mid grey again until 5pm when we will be treated to a full hour of brilliant sunshine, and presumably blue skies too. After the hour is up the clouds will return, and a splash of rain is possible for later in the evening. Of course there could be other interpretations of the weather forecast, but that is how it looks to me !

 I felt unusually good both mentally and physically yesterday afternoon. I may not have done that much on the scale of the wider world, but getting two lots of laundry done was very satisfying even if one load was just five pairs of underpants and a face flannel. I also did as I suggested I might, some more tidying up in the back room. I virtually had to jump up and down on the contents of the wheelie bin to do it, but I managed to force in a fair sized bag of rubbish. The bin will be emptied again sometime today, and theoretically I could start to gather another bag or rubbish or two as soon as I get home. I don't think that will happen tonight somehow, but I can foresee it won't be too long before I clear the last of the stuff from what should be the dining table. The only trouble with that theory is that I've now almost edited the crap on it down to stuff that I really do want to keep !

 I was in that curious state that I assume most people have at one time or another, but it could just be me, where I feel both tired and not tired when I went to bed. I had done some physical stuff during the day, but (in theory) not enough to wear me out. So I didn't feel any great physical need for rest, but I was yawning a bit, and yet my brain felt very wide awake. Of course all my excuses as to why I shouldn't have been able to get to sleep came to nought after I fell asleep far quicker than I expected, and on the whole I slept OK-ish.

 This morning I woke up feeling fine until I got out of bed and thought about it more, and the I felt lousy for half an hour. Once I had gone through the delicate transmogrification from asleep to awake, I felt far better. Apart from a brief worry that my stomach upset was returning while I waited for the train at Catford Bridge station, I guess I feel fairly good today. I could feel many times better in a more perfect world, but I don't seem to have any particular pains to moan about just yet. I do feel old and worn out, and decrepit, and overweight, and out of condition, but none of those things are what you could call painful. So I am just content to quietly rot away in my little corner of reality (or fantasy).

 There are two big stories today. The first is that it is Thursday. So I am looking forward to a couple of pints of beer, but possibly a maximum of three, after work in a venue that I haven't been notified about yet. The other news is the 24 hour tube strike. I don't use the London Underground to get to and from work, and with no tube service anywhere near Catford, and just one station at least half a mile from Earlsfield, I was not inconvenienced by extra passengers using National Rail as a substitute for the Underground. Of course it did provide a photo opportunity at Waterloo !
Waterloo Underground
                          with the shutters down
Waterloo Underground Station with the shutters half down, and a couple of HiVi suited "bouncers" outside.
Waterloo station not looking very
It was still a bit early, 06:55am, but Waterloo station seemed less busy than usual. maybe the crowds would come later, or maybe many people who usually need to use the tube too a days holiday from work.
Another entrance with the shutters
                          across it
The entrance to the Underground near platforms 7 to 9 (at a guess) also had it's gates closed.
Tuesday 4th August 2015
07:46 BST  
 The weather forecast for yesterday turned out to be almost right. That's happened a few times recently, but I hope they don't make a habit of it because the forecast for today is not terribly inspiring. Yesterday ranged from good to bad, and ended as good again. Just as the forecast predicted, the early morning sunshine gave way to light clouds, and then those clouds thickened and grew darker in the afternoon. It was seriously dull outside when I left work to go home. On the way I felt a few light drops of rain, and my train passed through a very brief, and very light shower. It was dry, and beginning to slowly lighten up as I walked from the station to home. At that time it was about 25° C. A couple of hours later and the sky looked like this.....
colourful sunset
                          last night
 It looked rather delicious. It's just a shame that the camera I used, my little Samsung, couldn't capture all the delicacy of the colours. This morning it was still 14° C - which is neither warm nor cool....well maybe a little cool, but not cold, and the sky was nice and clear and blue - which is what you would expect after that glorious sunset. Sadly, if the weather forecast turns out to be correct, we will lose the blue sky by midday, and the afternoon will be lightly overcast until early evening when we could see a few sunny spells before sunset. It should remain dry, and warm, but only 22 or 23° C warm.

 It felt strange to be almost free of discomfort for most of the working day yesterday, and I didn't feel any particular discomfort going home either. In theory I could have done something interesting or useful on the way home, or after I got home. I did have a few thoughts about washing a couple of t-shirts, but the dark gloomy sky seemed to knock out and inspiration for that. On top of that, I was feeling a bit to warm and sweaty to mess around in hot soapy water. I think the humidity was probably rather high yesterday. There was one other reason for not doing that laundry, and that was a feeling of a slight disturbance in my gut.

 That disturbance was later helped along by my dinner. To clear out the fridge of stuff that had been in there too long, I made what was going to be a low fat, very low sugar, and high fibre instant stew. I ruined one of those lows by adding some sliced chorizo sausage to the ready cooked skinless, barbecue flavour, chicken strips, green beans, peas, tomato purée and chicken oxo cubes. I sometimes wonder why I like chorizo sausage. It is full of lumps of fat, and has lots of fibrous sinew or meat that gets stuck between my teeth. It does taste nice though ! It was all boiled up in a generous amount of stock in the microwave oven, and it was very nice, but all that hot liquid often does funny things to me an hour or so later.

 Last night was no exception, although it could also be something to do with the pasta salad stuff I had on Sunday that gave me indigestion, or it could have been something else entirely. All I know is that an hour, or maybe two after eating dinner I had to make a rapid exit to the toilet. There's no need for details, but I will say that after that it felt like I wouldn't need to go to the toilet for a whole week ! I felt good after that, and had a comfortable night in bed. I think I slept OK, and managed to clock up many hours of good sleep, although I did seem to have a repeating dream about pasta with a sauce that was a bit like chilli con carne, but without the meat. It was tomato with chilli and red kidney beans. The peculiar thing is that it seemed to be being sold in a fried chicken shop, and if you bought an adult portion you got two kids portions for free. I seemed to dream variants of that basic idea on multiple occasions. It was all a bit weird - and I woke up feeling hungry !

 This morning was another morning when, apart from a sort of empty/hungry feeling, I felt almost good - although that might be a big "almost". I guess it is now a permanent fixture that I seem to need a good half hour to shake off the effects of sleep, or laying down all night, but after enough time had passed it would have been difficult to complain about anything except a slightly tender feeling chest. It didn't actually hurt, but it felt like it would if I was not careful about how I moved. The lack of discomfort waned a bit as I towelled myself dry after my shower, and waned a bit more when I put on my shoes.

 I decided to take a chance on wearing the other pair of cheap shoes I bought last Saturday. When I first tried them on I realised that I would have to wear socks with them to stop them rubbing in certain places. So this morning I put on a brand new pair of socks, and my new shoes. The verdict so far is that they are comfortable in some ways, and not so comfortable in others, but they also feel like they could become comfortable when broken in - if they don't break me first (which doesn't seem likely). Although cheap and nasty, they are not simple canvas trainers that I have favoured for some time now. If they do break in they could be good for walking in if I ever get out on any long walks again.

 It wasn't just me who was feeling better than normal (where normal is the average of the last 6 months - maybe). The trains seemed to be running very smoothly this morning - although I didn't notice anything different as we went along. What I did notice is that I managed, for the first time ever (I think), to get the 07:03 Guildford via Chobham train from Waterloo, and here's a picture to prove it (well it's a sort of proof !).
all aboard the 07:03
                          to Guildford
 Here's a few very big "ifs" ! If it is not as dull as the forecast says it is likely to be, and if my new shoes are seeming comfortable, I might go home from work via some sort of scenic work. If I don't do that, and if I have any reason to feel good when I get home from work, than maybe I might do something housework related - maybe laundry, or maybe even filling another extra strong rubbish bag with rubbish/junk from the back room. I may not have room in the wheelie bin at the moment, but it will be emptied on Thursday (usually), and there should be enough room in there for two additional rubbish sacks over my normal usage. What is a more likely scenario is that I'll go home via Tesco, and end up eating something terribly inappropriate while watching TV. Oh well, we can all dream....
Monday 3rd August 2015
08:07 BST

  The weathermen keep reminding up that last month, July, had two extremes - beginning and end, and hot and cold. The beginning of the month, 1st July, was the hottest July day ever with 37° C being recorded somewhere in the UK. The coldest July day "ever" at just 1° C was in some very unlucky place in the UK on the last day of the month. Summer to winter in just 31 days ! Maybe this August can try and be a bit more consistent, but it's not starting all that well. While yesterday was a rather splendid day, today is not looking so good. There were some dull periods yesterday, but it was mostly sunny, and the temperature hit at least 25° C, and maybe 26° C. Today started off warm, about 18° C, although maybe a bit more humid than I would like, and it was sunny. It was sunny when I walked to the station, and it was sunny on one side of the train as I travelled to Waterloo East. The view out the other side of the train was of grey clouds, and by the time I arrived at Waterloo East those clouds had covered the sky. It is unlikely that we will see much more, if indeed any more sun today, and thick black clouds are forecast for when I am going home from work. The top temperature today is forecast to be 23° C, and that could be high enough to trigger some thunderstorms tonight. Tomorrow is not looking much better !

 I never did get to go out yesterday afternoon as I intended. After doing so much hand laundry in the morning (plus some backbreaking path sweeping), I was feeling rather peckish. Eating some "Mediterranean flavour" (based on the typical local cuisine rather than the taste of the sewage infested sea water) pasta seemed like it would be a good idea - but it wasn't ! It was probably the hot Mexicana-like cheese that I had with it that did the damage, but I ended up with indigestion that was bad enough to put me off travelling.

 The afternoon was not completely wasted because I did a little more tidying up in the back room - the room that has accumulated all sorts of stuff from paperwork to old computer bits to railway bits and pieces over the years. My task yesterday was to throw out an old cat carrier, and while doing so, to throw out lots of unwanted bits and pieces that had accumulated around it. I was sort of reluctant to throw out an old flat bed scanner. It was bought in the days of Windows For Workgroups 3.11, but still worked perfectly, albeit incredibly slowly, when running Windows XP. If the optics were clean it gave quite good results too. Nevertheless, I have a much faster scanner that is part of a combined HP scanner and printer. The printer no longer works, and that is probably why I found in a skip at work, but the scanner still works beautifully, and it works with absolutely no effort with Linux - something the old scanner wouldn't do.

 I have now revealed another two square feet of carpet in that back room, and almost filled up the wheelie bin ! The only unpleasant thing is that I also uncovered up a scattering of old mouse droppings. I have seen no overt signs of mice in the house for a long while now, and hopefully I've seen the last of them, but I wonder..... Somewhere, under yet more clutter, there is a hole in the floorboards next to the skirting board where, at a guess, an old electric socket used to be before the house was re-wired. I know there was one in the living room that mice were using to come up from under the floorboards, and I filled that one. The hole in the back room is still there - somewhere - and I am thinking I ought to try and fill that before winter starts to avoid any of the little darlings seeking a warm room for the night !

 I slept delightfully well last night. Maybe it was all the hard work I did, or maybe I was just feeling good in some way that I no longer recognise. I think I probably got close to a full eight hours sleep, but maybe it was less. By judging it how I thought I could feel after doing lots of physical hard work yesterday, I feel pretty good. All the lifting of wet laundry, which in the case of the big towel, and the duvet cover, could be quite heavy, seems to have done more good than harm to my "floating ribs". I have noticed very little clicking, popping, or grinding sensations from inside my chest since doing that laundry, although I do have a sort of soft pain over a large part of my chest this morning.

 That pain joins up with, or did join up with a sort of acidy, almost burpy mild but annoying stomach pain. That pain seemed to fade away as I approached Earlsfield, and eating a couple of sandwiches seems to have finished the job. Curiously enough, the dull mild ache from my chest also seems to have faded to a very low level - so low that I had to stop and think if it was still there. Maybe all these pains and more will come back once I get out of my chair and do something, but for the moment I almost feel comfortable. If I started reading some news off the internet I reckon I could fall asleep with ease - and probably will !

 I have no definite plans for tonight. If I go home under thick threatening clouds I will probably lose any inspiration to do anything at all, but if the sun should come out, in complete defiance of the weather forecast, I could be tempted to wash a few t-shirts, and some underwear, but that is pretty low priority stuff. If there was room to put more junk in the wheelie bin, I could be tempted to uncover another square foot of carpet in the back room, but with the bin not being emptied until Thursday I have to leave a bit of space in there for smelly kitchen waste. Maybe I'll just watch some TV and vegetate !
Sunday 2nd August 2015
10:50 BST
The weather was pretty good yesterday. More continuous sunshine would have been nicer, but there were plenty of sunny spells, and while it wasn't hot, it certainly felt comfortable warm. Today may not be quite as good, although the forecast says it should be better in at least one respect. It is currently 21° C, but it is expected to rise to 25, or even maybe 26° C by late this afternoon. I am a little perplexed at the moment. The forecast was last updated at 19:07 on Friday, but I am sure it is now showing that there will be more sunshine than it did yesterday. It is sunny at the moment, but it wasn't earlier, and there are still quite a few clouds visible. Many of the clouds are very high whispy ones. They don't count, but there are some heavier ones lower in the sky. If one of those gets in the way of the sun it will block it completely. Tomorrow it's back to work weather - mostly, but not completely lightly overcast, and the temperature ranging from a comfortable 18° C first thing in the morning, to only 23° C in the late afternoon.

 I probably should not be alive now, but I seem to be, and on the whole I feel fairly good. Apart from the dream where I lost a tooth, I slept quite well last night. It could have been better, a lot better, but it was rather good by recent standards. I think I finally got up around 8.30am, and that means that I had a nice lie in - or it should do. I actually got up at 5am, but after an hour I went back to bed again, and a couple of hours passed without me even being aware I had fallen asleep. I woke up again feeling better than many morning, and after half an hour to acclimatise myself to the waking world, I had a shower and prepared for action ! This morning "action !" was to do some laundry - and quite a lot of it !
washing on the line
My finest achievement was to (hand) wash a medium sized bath towel, and a double sized duvet cover. The latter needed a lot of manhandling, but fortunately on a day like today I didn't need to wring it out too much, and it should drip and dry fairly quickly in the sun.
five shirts drying on hangers
I also washed five short sleeved shirts. They are drying indoors.
small table cloth, and small towel
                          drying over the banister rail
Finally, a mini tablecloth, and a small towel drying on the banister rail.

 Doing all that washing certainly raised a bit of a sweat, and I wonder how many calories it burned. Probably not that many. Maybe only in single figures - such is the way of my world. Amazingly enough, well amazing to me, I didn't stop there. After I had hung the duvet and towel on the washing line, which contrary to the order I showed the pictures, were actually the last two items I washed, I decided to sweep the garden path - or at least the bit that runs beside the house from the back door to the garden proper.

 It needed quite a bit of sweeping, and I could feel my back start to complain, but only a bit, and hopefully there will be no lasting effects. Of course I was doing all these physical tasks without the benefit of the drugs that throttle my heart back, and maybe I couldn't do them when it is throttled back. I imagine that my blood pressure is probably high enough to scare my doctor silly, but I feel OK, and, as I said a few paragraphs back, I am still alive. I haven't had a stroke, or a heart attack - yet !

 Maybe that will happen this afternoon if I do something I an toying with. My friend Aleemah, who is into all weird stuff, and seems to believe in it just like Christians actually believe in God, is up to diabolical, or pagan, or druid stuff in Greenwich this afternoon. I am thinking of spying on her, and her weird friends with my extreme zoom lens camera. I have warned her to ignore any strange men with cameras in the bushes ! It seems like it would make for a nice afternoon walk, but I'll see if I can raise the enthusiasm for it after I've put my feet up and done some reading for a while.
Saturday 1st August 2015
20:26 BST
The weather was rather variable yesterday. Sometimes it was cloudy, and sometimes it was sunny, and sometimes it was both ! The temperature was definitely higher than previous days, but I cannot recall exactly what it was. A figure like 24° C seems likely. After a dry and clear night I expected the temperature to be quite low this morning, but by 9am, with a mostly clear sky, it was approaching 17° C. It has been a mostly sunny day, and it has felt a lot warmer than the 22° C that my thermometer was registering this afternoon. With the sun now below the treeline, it is already down to 18° C, but the sky remains clear. By early morning it is forecast to drop to 14° C, but it will slowly warm up during the day. Some warm breezes, and some sunny intervals are predicted to raise the temperature to 25 or 26° C. Now that feels like summer - if it happens as the two day forecast says it will happen !

  As usually seems to happen, the mild persistent pain from my inflamed ligaments, and other bits of chest tissue, faded away during yesterday morning. From then on my chest still felt tender, but provided I avoided some of the movements that I know aggravate it, I was mostly pain free for the rest of the day. I was further cheered by walking to the station after work in hot, and dazzling sunshine. Sadly that didn't last. As I waited in the sunshine for my train on Earlsfield station I could see that it was very overcast in the direction of Waterloo, and sure enough, by the time my train arrived at Waterloo it was looking very dull outside.  Curiously enough, it seemed brighter, and there might have even been a bit of sunshine, while I waited for my train a few hundred yards away, but facing a different direction, at Waterloo East station !

 It was nice to get home after work yesterday, but there was no special reason for it. I didn't do anything but relax - except when I was editing photos, but even that was relatively relaxing - probably. I guess it was all that relaxation that made me feel very relaxed about getting to bed despite feeling very tired at times while I was at work. I prepared some pointless photos from my little journey to Forest Hill for the Thursday night drink, and I prepared a couple of photos taken in the morning at Waterloo station concourse.
New Cross Gate
New Cross Gate station sign.
Brockley station
Brockley station
Honour Oak Park
Honour Oak Park station
Forest Hill Hotel
This building used to be The Forest Hill Hotel pub. Click on this picture for a full sized picture.

 The significance of that last picture of The Forest Hill Hotel is that it was a pub that was just a hundred yards, or so from the rear gates of where I used to work in the mid 1970s, and where quite a few happy lunchtime drinks were had. Now the place has gone the way of many pubs. It closed down sometime in the last 10 years (maybe), and seems to have been converted into flats - and also has a For Sale sign on it.

Which? on the
                              concourse of Waterloo Station
 This cardboard looking telephone was on the concourse of Waterloo station yesterday morning, and still there in the evening. It was to promote their campaign to stop nuisance calling.
                              "phone" lights up with hundreds
                              of LEDs to draw attention to it
 The model is festooned with hundreds of lightbulbs to draw attention to it. I think there was some sort of touchscreen on the front of it to control the lamps.
Stop nuisance
                              calls NOW
One more view of the "telephone" glowing it's bits off !

  This morning I met my friend Aleemah for breakfast in the Catford Wetherspoons pub, and to watch a DVD afterwards. She has decided she wants to watch The Omen movie series. The week before last we watched the first one, and today we watched The Omen II. I have to confess that I don't really enjoy watching these films. The plot is amazingly thin, and it seems most of the film is just filler. I have no idea if the series is based upon a book, but it feels like it was based on a short story that has been padded out to fill four films !

 After Aleemah went home I was going to wash a towel, and a few shirts. It was ideal weather fro drying a towel on the washing line in the garden, but I never got around to it. I had a light lunch, and then laid on my bed to read a few pages from a magazine. It wasn't long before I put the magazine down, closed my eyes, and fell asleep. I have no idea how long I slept for, but it might have been for as long as a whole hour.

 It took a while to wake up properly, and get the creases out of my body and brain, but once I managed that I went out to do a little shopping. I have concluded, rightly or wrongly, that a reason why some of my shoes are uncomfortable is because they are now too big for me. I know it is rather naughty, and is dicing with death, but with a devil may care attitude, I have not arranged a prescription to top up my drugs, for a few weeks now - Actually I think it is probably closer to a whole month since I last took the complete set of pills. Well the result of this is that my heart is now not being throttled, and is able to pump blood all around my body now - including my feet. The result of that is that for some time my ankles and feet have not been swollen. While there may well be fatal downsides to this course of action, it is nice to see my feet back to normal - and normal feet mean back to normal size shoes !

 So this afternoon's shopping was for some spare, correctly sized shoes, and I struck lucky. Peacocks, on the high street, like many stores, are having a sale, and I bought one pair of cheap and nasty trainers for just £3 - knocked down from £12 ! They are the type that falls apart, getting progressively more uncomfortable, after just a weeks worth of intensive use. Worn one day a week for work, they may last 6 or 7 weeks if I am lucky, but for just £3 I can't complain too much, and they are a nice colour !

 I bought another pair of trainers that are more substantial, and I am hoping they will be good for walking long distances. The only downside is that unlike many, if not most of the trainers I wear, I don't think I can wear these new ones without wearing socks. The sides sides seem unusually rough on the inside, and I think that without socks they will chafe badly. That wouldn't be a problem except that I have discovered that I don't really like wearing socks. I don't know how I do it, but I always seem to make socks ruck up under the sole. In that state they are quite uncomfortable to walk on.

 Today I should be at Pettswoodstock - the all day music festival in Petts Wood. I know many of the bands playing there, and there would be some wonderful photo opportunities. The only trouble is that I don't have the stamina for an all day event (where all day is actually midday to midnight), and I really don't like how crowded it can get. The crowds can be a real pain in the neck. I hate standing up in front of people to take photos, as several bands would have liked me to do, and the crowds make it difficult to move around for different angled shots and stuff. Plus they make it difficult to get to, and buy, some awful fizzy beer, and they make it difficult to get outside the venue to the porta loos that are lined up in the road outside (or where when I went a few years ago). It was my experience of it a few years ago that made me decide that I just couldn't raise the enthusiasm to go again. The only thing that might have got me there was a backstage/photographers permit - if such a thing existed. Chris, from Chain, suggested that he might have been able to sort something of that nature out, but I have heard nothing since. So tonight I stay in not taking photos, and I don't think I miss it at all.